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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
5/29/2022

4VAC25. Department of Energy

VAC AGENCY NO. 25

DEPARTMENT OF MINES, MINERALS AND ENERGY

AGENCY SUMMARY

The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is authorized to promulgate regulations necessary or incidental to the performance of duties or execution of powers conferred under Title 45.1 of the Code of Virginia in the chapters and articles indicated. Such regulations may be promulgated by the department, the Chief of the Division of Mines, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board or the Director, as appropriate, or with the approval of the director, may be promulgated by any division of the department with respect to matters assigned to that division. Code of Virginia, Title 45.1, Chapters 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4, 14.4:1, 14.5, 14.6, 15.1, 16, 19, and 22.1.

DIVISION OF MINES

The department, through its Division of Mines, is authorized to prescribe health and safety standards for mining of coal pursuant to the following articles of Chapter 14.2 of Title 45.1 of the Code of Virginia. With regard to regulations governing coal mines, the department uses the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board as a regulatory work committee (Article 10). The Board of Coal Mining Examiners may require certification by examination of persons who work in coal mines (Article 3). The department is required to license the operation of commercial coal mines (Article 5). It may also operate coal mine rescue and first-aid stations, and train miner crews therefor. The department, upon request, may designate two or more private mine rescue teams as "state-designated mine rescue teams" (Articles 6 and 11). The department is required to inspect coal mines (Article 8); investigate explosions, fires and accidents (Article 7); and close coal mines pending noncompliance in certain circumstances (Article 9). Coal mine operators are required to make various filings with the department (Articles 5, 7, 8, and 9).

The Chief of the Division of Mines is authorized to approve methods and devices, set standards, and impose or modify requirements as to various aspects of mine safety in underground coal mines pursuant to Chapter 14.3 and surface coal mines pursuant to Chapter 14.4.

 

DIVISION OF MINERAL MINING

The department, through its Division of Mineral Mining, is authorized to prescribe health and safety standards for mining of minerals pursuant to the following articles of Chapter 14.4:1 of Title 45.1 of the Code of Virginia. The department may require certification by examination of persons who work in mineral mines (Article 3). The department is required to license the operation of commercial mineral mines (Article 4). It may operate mineral mine rescue and first-aid stations, and train miner crews therefor (Articles 5 and 9). The department, upon request, may designate two or more mine rescue teams as "state-designated mine rescue teams" (Article 5). The department is required to inspect underground mineral mines and is not to inspect surface mineral mines which are determined by the director to be inspected by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (Article 7); is required to investigate explosions, fires and accidents (Article 6); and is required to close mineral mines pending noncompliance in certain circumstances (Article 8). The department is directed to require each operator to have a mineral mining safety training program plan (Article 9). Mineral mine operators are required to make various filings with the department (Articles 4, 6, 7, and 8).

The department is also authorized to approve methods and devices, set standards, and impose or modify requirements as to various aspects of mine safety in underground mineral mines (Chapter 14.5); and surface mineral mines (Chapter 14.6). These aspects include but are not limited to: mine roof, rib and face control; unsafe conditions; proximity of mining operation to gas and oil wells; mechanical equipment; explosives and blasting; transportation; hoisting equipment; mine openings and escapeways; illumination; miner personal safety; smoking prohibitions; electricity; first aid equipment and personnel; fire prevention and control; ventilation hazards, mine gases and other hazardous conditions; surface areas; ground control; and duties of certified and competent persons.

The Division of Mineral Mining is also authorized to enforce and administer requirements for reclamation of mineral mines. The division may issue permits, promulgate regulations, administer the Orphaned Mine Land Program, and require or perform reclamation of disturbed areas (Chapter 16). The Division of Mineral Mining also oversees the permitting of uranium exploration (Chapter 21).

DIVISION OF MINED LAND RECLAMATION

The department, through its Division of Mined Land Reclamation, is authorized to enforce and administer the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-97). It issues permits for coal surface mining and exploration, makes inspections, issues subpoenas, requires reports and recordkeeping, orders compliance or cessation of activities, and assesses civil penalties. It may make regulations establishing performance standards to carry out the Act. Regulations and subsequent amendments become effective upon approval by the Secretary of the Interior, pending which the former regulations remain in effect (Chapter 19). The department may exercise similar powers respecting surface impact incidents to underground coal mines (Chapter 19), oil and gas wells, gathering pipelines, and geophysical operations located on areas covered by coal surface mining permits (Chapter 22.1, Article 1). For multiple permit procedures, see the entry for the Department of Environmental Quality in Title 9.

The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is also charged with administering an abandoned coal mine reclamation program (Chapter 19) and approving construction of water and silt retaining dams and refuse piles of coal mines (Chapter 18) and mineral mines (Chapter 18.1).

DIVISION OF GAS AND OIL

With respect to oil and gas, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board and the department, through its Division of Gas and Oil, are responsible for administering the statutory provisions directed to prevention of waste in exploration and production, prevention of pollution of state waters, protection of rights of adjacent owners, restoration of disturbed sites, and protection of mining and public safety. Drillers, owners, and operators are required to register with the department, which is authorized to collect fees and issue permits for drilling and various other operations. It may inspect premises and require reports and may order the taking of action to prevent waste. The department may inspect coalbed methane wells and related facility operations to ensure the safety of persons on the permitted sites (Chapter 22.1, Article 3). The board and department may make general and special regulations to carry out the Virginia Gas and Oil Act. Chapter 22.1. The department is required to maintain a record of notifications of refusals to allow operators to sample water wells. Chapter 22.1, Article 4. Gas and oil operations in the Tidewater area must meet additional requirements. § 62.1-195.1 of the Code of Virginia.

The department, through its Division of Gas and Oil, is authorized to administer statutory provisions governing the development of geothermal resources in the Commonwealth. The permitting system provides for exploration and development, while rules and regulations allow for drilling, exploration, and development based on a system of correlative rights. They also establish minimum requirements for temperature, well regulation, reservoir management and allocation of the geothermal resource, and set volumetric rates for leasing, royalties and severance taxes as necessary. The department consults with the State Water Control Board (Department of Environmental Quality) in all respects and with the State Department of Health with respect to potable water in carrying out these duties and responsibilities (Chapter 15.1).

The department operates under the supervision of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Regulations are available at the department's principal office located in the Washington Building, 1100 Bank Street, Eighth Floor, Richmond, VA 23219. Regulations of constituent units are also available from the particular unit. Internet address: http://www.dmme.virginia.gov

Rev. 08/2019

 

 

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