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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

4VAC25-130-824.11. Mountaintop removal; performance standards.

(a) Surface coal mining activities may be conducted under a variance from the requirement of this Subchapter for restoring affected areas to their approximate original contour, if--

(1) The division grants the variance under a permit, in accordance with 4VAC25-130-785.14;

(2) The activities involve the mining of an entire coal seam running through the upper fraction of a mountain, ridge, or hill, by removing all of the overburden and creating a level plateau or gently rolling contour with no highwalls remaining;

(3) An industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential, or public facility (including recreational facilities) use is proposed and approved for the affected land;

(4) The alternative land-use requirements of 4VAC25-130-816.133(a) through (c) are met;

(5) All applicable requirements of this chapter, other than the requirements to restore affected areas to their approximate original contour, are met;

(6) An outcrop barrier of sufficient width, consisting of the toe of the lowest coal seam, and its associated overburden, are retained to prevent slides and erosion, except that the division may permit an exception to the retention of the coal barrier requirement if the following conditions are satisfied:

(i) The proposed mine site was mined prior to May 3, 1978, and the toe of the lowest seam has been removed; or

(ii) A coal barrier adjacent to a head-of-hollow fill may be removed after the elevation of a head-of- hollow fill attains the elevation of the coal barrier if the head-of-hollow fill provides the stability otherwise ensured by the retention of a coal barrier;

(7) The final graded slopes on the mined area are less than 1v:5h so as to create a level plateau or gently rolling configuration, and the outslopes of the plateau do not exceed 1v:2h except where engineering data substantiates, and the division finds, in writing, and includes in the permit under 4VAC25-130-785.14, that a minimum static safety factor of 1.5 will be attained;

(8) The resulting level or gently rolling contour is graded to drain inward from the outslope, except at specified points where it drains over the outslope in stable and protected channels. The drainage shall not be through or over a valley or head-of-hollow fill;

(9) Natural watercourses below the lowest coal seam mined are not damaged;

(10) All waste and acid-forming or toxic-forming materials, including the strata immediately below the coal seam, are covered with non-toxic spoil to prevent pollution and achieve the approved postmining land use; and

(11) Spoil is placed on the mountaintop bench as necessary to achieve the postmining land use approved under Paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(4) of this section. All excess spoil material not retained on the mountaintop shall be placed in accordance with 4VAC25-130-816.41, 4VAC25-130-816.43 and 4VAC25-130-816.71 through 4VAC25-130-816.75.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 824.11, 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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