Administrative Code

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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
10/21/2020

4VAC25-130-843.13. Suspension or Revocation of Permits; Pattern of Violations.

(a)(1) The director shall issue a show cause order to a permittee requiring justification as to why his permit and right to mine under the Act should not be suspended or revoked, if the director determines that a pattern of violations of any requirements of the Act, this chapter, or any permit condition required by the Act exists or has existed, and that the violations were caused by the permittee's willful or unwarranted failure to comply with those requirements or conditions, or if the permittee failed to pay the final civil penalty assessment as required by 4VAC25-130-845.20. Violations by any person conducting surface coal mining operations on behalf of the permittee shall be attributed to the permittee, unless the permittee establishes that they were acts of deliberate sabotage.

(2) The director may determine that a pattern of violations exists or has existed based upon two or more inspections of the permit area within any 12-month period, after considering the circumstances, including:

(i) The number of violations, cited on more than one occasion, of the same or related requirements of the Act, this chapter, or the permit;

(ii) The number of violations, cited on more than one occasion, of different requirements of the Act, this chapter, or the permit; and

(iii) The extent to which the violations were isolated departures from lawful conduct.

(3) The director shall promptly review the history of violations of any permittee who has been cited for violations of the same or related requirements of the Act, this chapter, or the permit during three or more inspections of the permit area within any 12-month period. If, after such review, the director determines that a pattern of violations exists or has existed, he shall issue a show cause order as provided in subdivision (a) (1) of this section.

(4)(i) In determining the number of violations within any 12-month period, the director shall consider only violations issued as a result of an inspection carried out pursuant to 4VAC25-130-840.11, 4VAC25-130-842.11 and 4VAC25-130-842.12.

(ii) The director may not consider violations issued as a result of inspections other than those mentioned in subdivision (a) (4) (i) of this section in determining whether to exercise his discretion under subdivision (a) (2) of this section, except as evidence of the "willful" or "unwarranted" nature of the permittee's failure to comply.

(5) Whenever a permittee fails to abate a violation contained in a notice of violation or cessation order within the abatement period set in the notice or order or as subsequently extended, the division shall review the permittee's history of violations to determine whether a pattern of violations exists pursuant to this section, and shall issue a show cause order as appropriate pursuant to 4VAC25-130-845.15(b)(2).

(b) The permittee shall have 15 days from receipt of the show cause order to file an answer and request a formal public hearing in writing. The director shall give 30 days written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing to the permittee, and any intervenor. The public hearing shall be conducted in accordance with § 2.2-4020 of the Virginia Administrative Process Act. The director shall publish the notice, if practicable, in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the surface coal mining and reclamation operations, and shall post it at the division's Big Stone Gap office.

(c) Within 30 days after the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue a written decision as to whether a pattern of violations exists, and, if appropriate, an order. The decision and order shall be final, subject to the review and reconsideration by the director or his designee provided in subsection (e) of this section. If the decision and order revoke or suspend the permit and the permittee's right to mine under the Act, the permittee shall immediately cease surface coal mining operations on the permit area and shall:

(1) If the permit and right to mine under the Act are revoked, complete reclamation within the time specified in the order; or

(2) If the permit and the right to mine under the Act are suspended, complete all affirmative obligations to abate all conditions, practices or violations, as specified in the order.

(d) Within 14 days after the issuance of a decision or order, the permittee, or any person who participated in the hearing and who has an interest which is or may be adversely affected by the hearing officer's decision may appeal to the director, or his designee (who shall not be the same person who issued the show cause order) for review of the record and reconsideration of the hearing officer's decision. The director or his designee may also, on his own motion, with notice to the parties, made within 14 days of the hearing officer's decision, review the record and reconsider the hearing officer's decision. No further evidence will be allowed in connection with such review and reconsideration but the director or his designee may hear further arguments, and may also after considering the record, remand any case for further hearing if he considers such action necessary to develop the facts. Within 30 days of the appeal or motion for review and reconsideration, the director or his designee shall complete his review of the hearing officer's decision and issue a final decision thereon.

(e) All requests for hearing before a hearing officer, or appeals for review and reconsideration, made under this section, and all notices of appeal for judicial review of a hearing officer's final decision or a final decision on review and reconsideration, shall be filed with the Director, Division of Mined Land Reclamation, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Post Office Drawer 900, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219.

(f) Any person who owns or controls or has owned or controlled any operations on which the permit has been revoked pursuant to this section may apply for reinstatement pursuant to 4VAC25-130-800.52.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-03-19 § 843.13, 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; Volume 23, Issue 13, eff. April 4, 2007.

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