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

4VAC25-130-785.14. Mountaintop Removal Mining.

(a) This section applies to any person who conducts or intends to conduct surface mining activities by mountaintop removal mining.

(b) Mountaintop removal mining means surface mining activities, where the mining operation removes an entire coal seam or seams running throughout the upper fraction of a mountain, ridge, or hill, except as provided for in 4VAC25-130-824.11(a)(6), by removing substantially all of the overburden off the bench and creating a level plateau or a gently rolling contour, with no highwalls remaining, and capable of supporting postmining land use in accordance with the requirements of this section.

(c) The division may issue a permit for mountaintop removal mining, without regard to the requirements of 4VAC25-130-816.102, 4VAC25-130-816.104, 4VAC25-130-816.105, and 4VAC25-130-816.107 to restore the lands disturbed by such mining to their approximate original contour, if it first finds, in writing, on the basis of a complete application, that the following requirements are met:

(1) The proposed postmining land use of the lands to be affected will be an industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential, or public facility (including recreational facilities) use and, if:

(i) After consultation with the appropriate land-use planning agencies, if any, the proposed land use is deemed by the division to constitute an equal or better economic or public use of the affected land compared with the premining use;

(ii) The applicant demonstrates compliance with the requirements for acceptable alternative postmining land uses of Paragraphs (a) through (c) of 4VAC25-130-816.133;

(iii) The applicant has presented specific plans for the proposed postmining land use and appropriate assurances that such use will be:

(A) Compatible with adjacent land uses;

(B) Obtainable according to data regarding expected need and market;

(C) Assured of investment in necessary public facilities;

(D) Supported by commitments from public agencies where appropriate;

(E) Practicable with respect to private financial capability for completion of the proposed use;

(F) Planned pursuant to a schedule attached to the reclamation plan so as to integrate the mining operation and reclamation with the postmining land use; and

(G) Designed by a registered engineer in conformance with professional standards established to assure the stability, drainage, and configuration necessary for the intended use of the site;

(iv) The proposed use would be compatible with adjacent land uses and existing State and local land use plans and programs; and

(v) The division has provided, in writing, an opportunity of not more than 60 days to review and comment on such proposed use to the governing body of general purpose government in whose jurisdiction the land is located and any State or Federal agency which the division in its discretion, determines to have an interest in the proposed use.

(2) The applicant demonstrates that in place of restoration of the land to be affected to the approximate original contour under 4VAC25-130-816.102, 4VAC25-130-816.104, 4VAC25-130-816.105, and 4VAC25-130-816.107, the operation will be conducted in compliance with the requirements of Part 824.

(3) The requirements of Part 824 are made a specific condition of the permit.

(4) All other requirements of the Act, this chapter, and the regulatory program are met by the proposed operations.

(5) The permit is clearly identified as being for mountaintop removal mining.

(d)(1) Any permits incorporating a variance issued under this section shall be reviewed by the division to evaluate the progress and development of mining activities to establish that the permittee is proceeding in accordance with the terms of the variance:

(i) Within the thirtieth month from the date of its issuance;

(ii) Before each permit renewal; and

(iii) Not later than the middle of each permit term.

(2) Any review required under Paragraph (d)(1) of this section need not be held if the permittee has demonstrated and the division finds, in writing, within three months before the scheduled review, that all operations under the permit are proceeding and will continue to be conducted in accordance with the terms of the permit and requirements of the Act, this chapter, and the regulatory program.

(3) The terms and conditions of a permit for mountaintop removal mining may be modified at any time by the division, if it determines that more stringent measures are necessary to insure that the operation involved is conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Act, this chapter, and the regulatory program.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 785.14, 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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