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
11/28/2020

§ 45.1-245. Enforcement of chapter generally.

A. Whenever the Director or his authorized representative determines that any condition or practices exist, or that any permittee is in violation of any requirement of this chapter or of any regulation promulgated hereunder or of any permit condition, which condition, practice or violation also creates an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, or is causing, or can reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air or water resources, the Director or his authorized representative shall immediately order a cessation of coal surface mining and reclamation operation or the portion thereof relevant to the condition, practice or violation. Such cessation order shall remain in effect until the Director or his authorized representative determines that the condition, practice or violation has been abated, or until modified, vacated or terminated by the Director or his authorized representative. Whenever the Director or his authorized representative finds that the ordered cessation of coal surface mining and reclamation operations, or any portion thereof, will not completely abate the imminent danger to health or safety of the public or the significant imminent environmental harm to land, air or water resources, the Director shall, in addition to the cessation order, impose affirmative obligations on the operator and require him to take whatever steps the Director or his authorized representative determines necessary to abate the imminent danger or the significant environmental harm.

B. Whenever the Director or his authorized representative determines that any permittee is in violation of any requirement of this chapter or any regulation thereunder, or any permit condition, but such violation does not create an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, or cannot reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air or water resources, the Director or his authorized representative shall issue a notice of violation to the permittee or his agent setting a reasonable time but not more than ninety days for the abatement of the violation and provide an opportunity for public hearing.

If, upon expiration of the period of time as originally set or subsequently extended for good cause shown upon the written finding of the Director or his authorized representative, the Director or his authorized representative finds that a violation has not been abated, he shall immediately order a cessation of coal surface mining and reclamation operations or the portion thereof relevant to the violation. Such cessation order shall remain in effect until the Director or his authorized representative determines that the violation has been abated, or until modified, vacated or terminated by the Director or his authorized representative pursuant to subsection D of this section. The Director or his authorized representative shall include in the cessation order the necessary measures to abate the violation in the most expeditious manner possible.

C. Whenever the Director or his authorized representative determines that a pattern of violations of the requirements of this chapter, or regulations promulgated thereunder, or any permit conditions exist or have existed, and if the Director or his authorized representative also finds that such violations are caused by the unwarranted failure of the permittee to comply with any such requirements, or that such violations are willfully caused by the permittee, the Director or his authorized representative shall forthwith issue an order to the permittee to show cause as to why the permit should not be suspended or revoked and shall provide opportunity for a formal public hearing. If a hearing is requested the Director shall inform all interested parties of the time and place of the hearing. Upon the permittee's failure to show cause as to why the permit should not be suspended or revoked, the Director or his authorized representative shall forthwith suspend or revoke the permit.

D. Notices and order issued pursuant to this section shall set forth with reasonable specificity the nature of the violation and the remedial action required, the period of time established for abatement, and a reasonable description of the portion of the coal surface mining and reclamation operation to which the notice or order applies. Each notice or order shall be given promptly to the permittee or his agent by the Director or his authorized representative issuing such notice or order, and all such notices and orders shall be in writing and signed by such authorized representatives. Any notice or order issued pursuant to this section may be modified, vacated or terminated by the Director or his authorized representative. Any notice or order issued pursuant to this section which requires cessation of mining by the operator shall expire within thirty days of actual notice to the operator unless an informal public hearing, unless waived by the operator, is held at the site or close enough to the site to allow viewings thereof during the course of the public hearing.

E. The Director may institute a civil action for injunctive or other relief in any court of competent jurisdiction whenever any permittee or his agent, or any other person:

1. Violates, fails or refuses to comply with any order or decision issued by the Director; or

2. Interferes with, hinders or delays the Director in carrying out the provisions of this chapter or the regulations thereunder; or

3. Refuses to admit such authorized representative to the mine; or

4. Refuses to permit inspection of the mine; or

5. Refuses to furnish any information or report requested by the Director pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or the regulations thereunder; or

6. Refuses to permit access to, and copying of, such records as the Director determines necessary in carrying out the provisions of this chapter or the regulations thereunder; or

7. Conducts coal surface mining or coal exploration operations without first obtaining a permit, or after a permit has lapsed, or after suspension or revocation of a permit.

1979, c. 290.

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.