Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 10. Virginia Coal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1979

§ 45.2-1019. Inspections and monitoring.

A. For the purpose of administering and enforcing any permit issued under this chapter or determining whether any person is in violation of any requirement of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder:

1. The Director shall require any permittee to (i) establish and maintain appropriate records; (ii) make monthly reports to the Division; (iii) install, use, and maintain any necessary monitoring equipment or methods; (iv) evaluate results in accordance with such methods, at such locations and intervals and in such manner as the Director prescribes; and (v) provide other information relative to a coal surface mining and reclamation operation as the Director deems reasonable and necessary;

2. For any coal surface mining and reclamation operation that removes or disturbs strata that serve as aquifers and thereby significantly ensure the hydrologic balance of water use, either on or off the mining site, the Director shall specify monitoring sites at which the permittee shall record (i) the quantity and quality of surface drainage above and below the mine site and in the potential zone of influence; (ii) the level, amount, and characteristics of samples of groundwater and aquifers that are potentially affected by mining or are located directly below the deepest coal seam to be mined; and (iii) amount of precipitation. The Director shall specify certain records of well logs and borehole data to be maintained. The monitoring, data collection, and analysis required by this section shall be conducted according to standards and procedures set forth in regulations adopted by the Director in order to assure their reliability and validity; and

3. Any authorized representative of the Director, without advance notice and upon presentation of appropriate credentials, has (i) the right of entry to, upon, or through any coal surface mining and reclamation operation and (ii) the right to inspect any monitoring equipment, method of exploration, method of operation, or records required by this chapter and to copy any such records.

No search warrant shall be required for any entry or inspection under this subsection, except with respect to entry into a building.

B. Inspections by the Director shall (i) occur on an irregular basis averaging not less than one partial inspection per month and one complete inspection per calendar quarter for the coal surface mining and reclamation operation covered by each permit, (ii) occur without prior notice to the permittee or any agent or employee of the permittee except for necessary on-site meetings with the permittee, and (iii) include the filing of inspection reports adequate to enforce the requirements of this chapter and carry out its terms and purposes.

C. Each permittee shall conspicuously maintain at the entrance to each coal surface mining and reclamation operation a clearly visible sign setting forth such information as is prescribed by regulation.

D. Each inspector, upon detection of a violation of any requirement of this chapter or of a regulation adopted hereunder, shall promptly inform the operator in writing and shall report such violation to the Director in writing.

E. Copies of any records, reports, inspection materials, or information obtained by the Director under this article shall be made immediately available to the public at central and sufficient locations in the area of mining so that they are conveniently available to residents in such areas. However, information that pertains only to the analysis of the chemical and physical properties of the coal, excepting information regarding mineral or elemental content that is potentially toxic in the environment, shall be kept confidential and be exempt from disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

1979, c. 290, § 45.1-244; 1984, cc. 323, 590; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

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.