Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Energy
Chapter 130. Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Regulations

4VAC25-130-764.17. Hearing requirements.

(a) Within 3 months, but no later than 10 months, following the receipt of a complete petition, the Director shall hold a public hearing in the locality of the area covered by the petition. In cases where a petition is filed prior to the first newspaper notice publication, required by 4VAC25-130-773.13(a)(1) pursuant to an administratively complete permit application, the Director shall conduct a hearing within 3 months, unless it is determined that due to the complexity of the issues additional time is necessary to prepare for the hearing, in which case, the time limit may be extended to the maximum of 10 months. If all petitioners and intervenors agree, the hearing need not be held. The hearing shall be fact finding in nature. The Hearing Officer is empowered to administer oaths and may at his discretion allow rebuttal of witnesses and cross-examination and rebuttal of expert witnesses. Parties to the hearing may subpoena witnesses as necessary. The Hearing Officer shall make a verbatim record of the hearing which shall be preserved according to State law. No person shall bear the burden of proof or persuasion. The Hearing Officer shall send a copy of the record, any exhibits, and his recommended findings and decision to the Director and to each party to the proceeding. Parties to the proceeding may file exceptions to the recommended findings and decision to the Director. In addition to the Hearing Officer decision and recommendation all relevant parts of the data base and public comments received during the comment period and the complete administrative record shall be forwarded to the Director by the division, to be included in the Director's decision on the petition.

(b)(1) The Director shall give notice of the date, time, and location of the hearing to:

(i) Local, State, and Federal agencies which may have an interest in the decision on the petition;

(ii) The petitioner and the intervenors; and

(iii) Any person known by the Director to have a property interest in the petitioned area.

(2) Notice of the hearing shall be sent by certified mail to petitioners and intervenors, and by regular mail to government agencies and property owners involved in the proceeding, and postmarked not less than 30 days before the scheduled date of the hearing.

(c) The Director shall notify the general public of the date, time, and location of the hearing by placing a newspaper advertisement once a week for two consecutive weeks in the locale of the area covered by the petition and once during the week prior to the public hearing. The consecutive weekly advertisement must begin between 4 and 5 weeks before the scheduled date of the public hearing.

(d) The Director may consolidate in a single hearing the hearings required for each of several petitions which relate to areas in the same locale.

(e) Prior to designating any land areas as unsuitable for surface coal mining operations, the Director shall prepare a detailed statement, using existing and available information on the potential coal resources of the area, the demand for coal resources, and the impact of such designation on the environment, the economy, and the supply of coal.

(f) In the event that all petitioners and intervenors stipulate agreement prior to the hearing, the petition may be withdrawn from consideration.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3 and 45.1-230 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 764.17, eff. December 15, 1981; amended, eff. June 28, 1982; October 28, 1982; December 14, 1982; October 11, 1983; December 27, 1983; May 8, 1984; June 22, 1984; August 2, 1984; October 16, 1985; January 7, 1987; July 22, 1987; November 25, 1987; October 12, 1988; December 26, 1990; July 1, 1991; July 17, 1991; November 20, 1991; July 7, 1992; May 5, 1993; October 19, 1994.

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