Valid existing rights
Valid existing rights means a set of circumstances under which a person may, subject to regulatory authority approval, conduct surface coal mining operations on lands where 30 U.S.C. 1272 and 761.11 would otherwise prohibit such operations. Possession of valid existing rights only confers an exception from the prohibitions of 761.11 and 30 U.S.C. 1272(e). A person seeking to exercise valid existing rights must comply with all other pertinent requirements of the Act and the applicable regulatory program.
30 CFR § 761.5
For the purposes of this part -