Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
Chapter 19. Virginia Coal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1979
10/27/2021

§ 45.1-229. (Repealed effective October 1, 2021) Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meaning respectively ascribed to them in this section except where the context clearly requires a different meaning; the Director shall have the power to adopt by regulation such other definitions as may be deemed necessary to carry out the intent of this chapter.

"Approximate original contour" means that surface configuration achieved by backfilling and grading of the mined area so that the reclaimed area, including any terracing or access roads, closely resembles the general surface configuration of the land prior to mining and blends into and complements the drainage pattern of the surrounding terrain, with all highwalls and spoil piles eliminated; water impoundments may be permitted where the Director determines that they are in compliance with the applicable performance standards promulgated pursuant to this chapter.

"Division" means the Division of Mined Land Reclamation.

"Federal act" means the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, Public Law 95-87, 91 U.S. Stat. 445.

"Imminent danger to the health and safety of the public" means the existence of any condition or practice, or any violation of a permit or other requirement of this chapter in a coal surface mining and reclamation operation, which condition, practice or violation could reasonably be expected to cause substantial physical harm to persons outside the permit area before such condition, practice or violation can be abated. A reasonable expectation of death or serious injury before abatement exists if a rational person, subjected to the same conditions or practices giving rise to the peril, would not expose himself to the danger during the time necessary for abatement.

"State regulatory program" or "permanent state regulatory program" means the program established by this chapter meeting the requirements of the federal act for the regulation of coal surface mining and reclamation operations within the Commonwealth, submitted to the Secretary pursuant to § 503 of the federal act.

"Person" means any individual, partnership, association, joint venture, trust, company, firm, joint stock company, corporation, or any other group or combination acting as a unit, or any other legal entity.

"Secretary" means the Secretary of the Interior of the United States.

"State or local agency" means any department, agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth; or any public authority, municipal corporation, local governmental unit or political subdivision of the Commonwealth; or any department, agency or instrumentality of any public authority, municipal corporation, local governmental unit, political subdivision of the Commonwealth, or two or more of any of the aforementioned.

"Coal surface mining and reclamation operations" means surface mining operations and all activities necessary and incidental to the reclamation of such operations after March 20, 1979.

"Coal surface mining operations" means the following:

1. Activities conducted on the surface of lands in connection with a surface coal mine or, subject to the requirements of § 45.1-243, surface operations and surface impacts incident to an underground coal mine, the products of which enter commerce or the operations of which directly or indirectly affect interstate commerce. Such activities include excavation for the purpose of obtaining coal including such common methods as contour, strip, auger, mountaintop removal, box cut, open pit, and area mining, the uses of explosives and blasting, and in situ distillation or retorting, leaching or other chemical or physical processing, and the cleaning, concentrating, or other processing or preparation, loading of coal for interstate commerce at or near the mine site; however, such activities do not include the extraction of coal incidental to the extraction of other minerals where coal does not exceed 162/3 percent of the tonnage of minerals removed for purposes of commercial use or sale or coal explorations subject to § 45.1-233 of this chapter; and

2. The areas upon which such activities occur or where such activities disturb the natural land surface. Such areas shall also include any adjacent land the use of which is incidental to any such activities, all lands affected by the construction of new roads or the improvement or use of existing roads to gain access to the site of such activities and for haulage, and excavations, workings, impoundments, dams, ventilation shafts, entryways, refuse banks, dumps, stockpiles, overburden piles, spoil banks, culm banks, tailings, holes or depressions, repair areas, storage areas, processing areas, shipping areas, and other areas upon which are sited structures, facilities, or other property or materials on the surface, resulting from or incident to such activities.

"Unwarranted failure to comply" means the failure of a permittee to prevent the occurrence of any violation of his permit or any requirement of this chapter due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care, or the failure to abate any violation of such permit or the chapter due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care.

"Operator" means any person engaging in coal surface mining operations whether or not such coal is sold within or without the Commonwealth.

"Permit" means a permit issued by the Director pursuant to the approved state regulatory program.

"Permit area" means the area of land indicated on the approved map submitted by the operator with his application, which area of land shall be covered by the operator's bond as required by § 45.1-241 and shall be readily identifiable by appropriate markers on the site.

"Permittee" means a person holding a permit issued by the Director for coal surface mining pursuant to § 45.1-234, for coal exploration pursuant to § 45.1-233, or for an NPDES permit pursuant to § 45.1-254.

"Other minerals" means clay, stone, sand, gravel, metalliferous and nonmetalliferous ores, and any other solid material or substances of commercial value excavated in solid form from natural deposits on or in the earth, exclusive of coal and those minerals which occur naturally in liquid or gaseous form.

1979, c. 290; 1984, c. 590.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.