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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

4VAC25-130-817.121. Subsidence control.

(a) Measures to prevent or minimize damage.

(1) The permittee shall either adopt measures consistent with known technology which prevent subsidence from causing material damage to the extent technologically and economically feasible, maximize mine stability, and maintain the value and reasonably foreseeable use of surface lands; or adopt mining technology which provides for planned subsidence in a predictable and controlled manner. Nothing in this part shall be construed to prohibit the standard method of room-and-pillar mining.

(2) If a permittee employs mining technology that provides for planned subsidence in a predictable and controlled manner, the permittee must take necessary and prudent measures, consistent with the mining method employed, to minimize material damage to the extent technologically and economically feasible to noncommercial buildings and occupied residential dwellings and structures related thereto except that measures required to minimize material damage to such structures are not required if:

(i) The permittee has the written consent of the structure owners;

(ii) Unless the anticipated damage would constitute a threat to health or safety, the costs of such measures exceed the anticipated costs of repair; or

(iii) The structure owners have denied the permittee access to implement the measures specified in subdivision (a) (2) of this section and the permittee has provided written evidence of his good faith efforts to obtain access. The good faith effort shall include documentation apprising the structure owners that such measures are intended to lessen the potential for property damages or personal injury and that denial of access will not prevent mining.

(b) The permittee shall comply with all provisions of the approved subsidence control plan prepared pursuant to 4VAC25-130-784.20.

(c) Repair of damage.

(1) Repair of damage to surface lands. The permittee must correct any material damage resulting from subsidence caused to surface lands, to the extent technologically and economically feasible, by restoring the land to a condition capable of maintaining the value and reasonably foreseeable uses that it was capable of supporting before subsidence damage.

(2) Repair or compensation for damage to noncommercial buildings and dwellings and related structures. The permittee must promptly repair, or compensate the owner for, material damage resulting from subsidence caused to any noncommercial building or occupied residential dwelling or structure related thereto that existed at the time of mining. If repair option is selected, the permittee must fully rehabilitate, restore, or replace the damaged structure. If compensation is selected, the permittee must compensate the owner of the damaged structure for the full amount of the decrease in value resulting from the subsidence related damage. The permittee may provide compensation by the purchase, before mining, of a noncancelable premium-prepaid insurance policy. The requirements of this subdivision apply only to subsidence related damage caused by underground mining activities conducted after October 24, 1992.

(3) Repair or compensation for damage to other structures. The permittee must, to the extent required under applicable provisions of state law, either correct material damage resulting from subsidence caused to any structures or facilities not protected by subdivision (c) (2) of this section by repairing the damage or compensate the owner of the structures or facilities for the full amount of the decrease in value resulting from the subsidence. Repair of damage includes rehabilitation, restoration, or replacement of damaged structures or facilities. Compensation may be accomplished by the purchase before mining of a noncancelable premium-prepaid insurance policy.

(4) Information to be considered in determination of causation. In a determination whether damage to protected structures was caused by subsidence from underground mining, all relevant and reasonably available information will be considered by the division.

(5) Adjustment of bond amount for subsidence damage. When subsidence related material damage to land, structures, or facilities protected under subdivisions (c) (1) through (c) (3) of this section occurs, or when contamination, diminution, or interruption to a water supply protected under 4VAC25-130-817.41 (j) occurs, the permittee shall provide additional performance bond in the amount of the estimated cost of the repairs if the permittee will be repairing, or in the amount of the decrease in value if the permittee will be compensating the owner, or in the amount of the estimated cost to replace the protected water supply if the permittee will be replacing the water supply, until the repair, compensation, or replacement is completed. If repair, compensation or replacement is completed within 90 days of the occurrence of damage or if the permittee demonstrates that the liability insurance required under 4VAC25-130-800.60 provides applicable to exceed one year, if the permittee demonstrates and the division finds in writing that subsidence is not complete, that not all probable subsidence related material damage has occurred to lands or protected structures, or that not all reasonably anticipated changes have occurred affecting the protected water supply, and that, therefore, it would be unreasonable to complete within 90 days the repair of the subsidence related material damage to lands or protected structures, or the replacement of protected water supply.

(d) Underground mining activities shall not be conducted beneath or adjacent to:

(1) Public buildings and facilities;

(2) Churches, schools, and hospitals; or

(3) Impoundments with a storage capacity of 20 acre-feet or more or bodies of water with a volume of 20 acre-feet or more, unless the subsidence control plan demonstrates that subsidence will not cause material damage to, or reduce the reasonably foreseeable use of, such features or facilities. If the division determines that it is necessary in order to minimize the potential for material damage to the features or facilities described above or to any aquifer or body of water that serves as a significant water source for any public water supply system, it may limit the percentage of coal extracted under or adjacent thereto.

(e) If subsidence causes material damage to any of the features or facilities covered by subsection (d) of this section, the division may suspend mining under or adjacent to such features or facilities until the subsidence control plan is modified to ensure prevention of further material damage to such features or facilities.

(f) The division shall suspend underground mining activities under urbanized areas, cities, towns, and communities, and adjacent to industrial or commercial buildings, major impoundments, or perennial streams, if imminent danger is found to inhabitants of the urbanized areas, cities, towns, or communities.

(g) Within a schedule approved by the division, the permittee shall submit a detailed plan of the underground workings. The detailed plan shall include maps and descriptions, as appropriate, of significant features of the underground mine, including the size, configuration, and approximate location of pillars and entries, extraction ratios, measures taken to prevent or minimize subsidence and related damage, areas of full extraction, and other information required by the division. Upon request of the permittee, information submitted with the detailed plan may be held as confidential, in accordance with the requirements of 4VAC25-130-773.13 (d).

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 817.121, eff. December 15, 1981; amended effective 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; Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 5, eff. December 24, 1997; Errata, 14:10 VA.R. 1751 February 2, 1998; amended, Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 13, eff. April 4, 2007.

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