Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
6/18/2019

Chapter 14.8. Emergency Seizure of Coal Properties by Commonwealth.

§ 45.1-161.312. Mining, etc., of coal essential business; subject to seizure by Commonwealth.

Any person engaged in the business of mining, production and marketing of coal, any portion of which is customarily used in the manufacture of heat and power, is hereby declared to be engaged in a business essential to the welfare, health and safety of the people of Virginia, and, under the conditions and in the manner hereinafter set forth, may be seized and operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any agency created and organized for such purpose, for public uses.

Code 1950, § 45-145; 1950, p. 29; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-145; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.313. "Public uses" defined; declaration of policy.

A. As used in this chapter, "public uses" means the mining, production and marketing of coal for the purpose of providing and furnishing heat and power to the people of Virginia.

B. Any imminent threat of substantial interruption or existing substantial interruption of such service is hereby declared to be contrary to the public policy of the Commonwealth, and it is the duty of the government of the Commonwealth to exercise all available means and every power at its command to prevent the same so as to protect its citizens from any dangers, perils, calamities or catastrophes which would result therefrom.

Code 1950, § 45-146; 1950, p. 29; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-146; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.314. Interruption of public uses; proclamation of emergency; seizure.

When in the judgment of the Governor there is an imminent threat of substantial interruption or there exists a substantial interruption of the public uses, he shall proclaim that an emergency exists in this Commonwealth endangering the welfare, health and safety of its people and the enjoyment of the public and private property within its borders, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to forthwith seize and operate the property of any person used in the mining, production and marketing of coal that he deems essential for the protection of the welfare, health and safety of the people of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 45-147; 1950, p. 30; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-147; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.315. Additional powers of Governor to operate seized properties.

The Governor shall, in addition to his inherent power as Governor, have and may exercise the powers and authority to possess and operate properties of any person used in the mining, production and marketing of coal for public uses in the manner hereinafter provided.

Code 1950, § 45-148; 1950, p. 30; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-148; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.316. Virginia Fuel Commission; powers and duties.

To act for and on behalf of the Governor in the enforcement of the powers and duties set forth in this chapter, the Governor may appoint a commission, known and designated as the Virginia Fuel Commission, hereafter the Commission. The Commission shall be composed of three residents of the Commonwealth, one of whom shall be designated by the Governor as chairman. The Commission, subject to the approval of the Governor, shall have in addition to such powers and duties incident hereto as the Governor may have and shall delegate to it, the following powers and duties:

1. To promulgate such rules and regulations and to issue such orders as may in the judgment of the Commission be necessary to accomplish in full the purposes of this chapter, which shall have the force and effect of law and the violation thereof shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor;

2. To appoint and employ such officers and personnel as in its judgment may be required to carry out the provisions of this chapter and to remove, in its discretion, any and all persons serving thereunder, and to fix, subject to approval by the Governor, the remuneration of all such officers and other personnel. Such personnel shall work subject to such safety provisions as are in force on the property at time of acquisition;

3. To acquire under the power of eminent domain, or by purchase, lease or otherwise, all the property of any person used in the business of mining, production and marketing coal, including all lands, tipples, mines, ores, rights-of-way, leaseholds, and every character and type of equipment deemed by the Commission necessary and incidental to the continuous mining and production of coal; and

4. To operate, manage and control any such properties so acquired; to purchase coal, coke and other fuel and to sell the same, either at retail or at wholesale; to enter into contracts; to allocate and provide for the distribution of coal and other fuels so as to assure distribution deemed most likely to promote the welfare, health and safety of the people of Virginia; and to do any and all things necessary and incident to the mining, production and marketing of coal.

Code 1950, § 45-149; 1950, p. 30; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-149; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.317. Terms and compensation of members of Commission.

Members of the Commission shall be appointed to serve at the pleasure of the Governor at a compensation fixed by the Governor.

Code 1950, § 45-156; 1950, p. 33; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-156; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.318. Chapter subject to provisions of general law.

This chapter shall be subject to all the provisions of general law applicable to coal mining operations.

Code 1950, § 45-154; 1950, p. 33; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-154; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.319. Negotiating purchase or lease of coal properties.

Whenever the Governor shall have proclaimed that an emergency exists under this chapter, and the Governor has appointed the Commission, the Commission shall forthwith make a bona fide attempt to negotiate the purchase or lease of the coal properties of such persons engaged in the mining, production and marketing of coal as the Commission deems necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter except where such negotiations cannot be promptly made due to the incapacity of the owners, or one or more of them, of the property, or for any other reason, no attempt to negotiate for the acquisition of such property need be made.

Code 1950, § 45-150; 1950, p. 31; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-150; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.320. Proceedings for condemnation.

A. Proceedings for condemnation hereunder shall be instituted and conducted in the name of the Commission, and the procedure shall, except insofar as altered herein, be as provided in Chapter 3 (§ 25.1-300 et seq.) of Title 25.1.

B. The proceedings for condemnation shall be by petition to the circuit court of the county or city in which the land, property and property rights or the major portion thereof sought to be temporarily acquired are located, which petition shall set forth with reasonable particularity a description and designation of the interests, rights and property intended to be temporarily taken, the name or names of the owners of the property which is to be taken or affected, and such other facts, if any, as may be deemed necessary by the Commission, in order to give adequate information to the court and all persons in interest, which petition shall be verified by oath by a member of the Commission. Upon the filing of said petition in the office of the clerk of the circuit court to which it is addressed, together with as many copies thereof as there are defendants upon which it is to be served, and depositing with the clerk for the custody of the court, and for the benefit of the owners of the properties taken or affected, such an amount of money as the Commission shall estimate to be just compensation for the property temporarily taken and the damage done, if any, the Commission shall thereupon seize and take possession, custody and control of said property or properties. The amount of money so deposited shall not limit the amount of just compensation to be allowed to the owners of the property. Service of said petition upon the defendants shall be made in the manner prescribed by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia with respect to Practice and Procedure in Actions at Law in effect at the time the petition is filed.

Code 1950, § 45-151; 1950, p. 31; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-151; 1994, c. 28; 2003, c. 940.

§ 45.1-161.321. Expense of acquiring and operating coal properties; funds derived from operation.

The expense of acquiring and operating any property or properties acquired under this chapter shall be paid out of moneys transferred from the general fund of the Commonwealth not otherwise appropriated upon such authorizations as the Governor may prescribe and shall be credited to the account of the Commission, and all funds and revenues derived from or received as a result of said operations shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the same account. Any amounts transferred upon authorization of the Governor from the general fund of the Commonwealth shall be known and designated as the "Capital Account" of the Commission, which amount, or residue thereof, together with any surplus that may accrue, shall be returned to the general fund of the Commonwealth in the event of liquidation or, in the absence of liquidation, in such installments and at such times as the Governor may prescribe.

Code 1950, § 45-152; 1950, p. 32; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-152; 1994, c. 28.

§ 45.1-161.322. Restoration of property to owner or operator.

A. Whenever the owner or operator of the business of mining, production and marketing coal, whose property has been acquired by the Commission, shall notify the Commission in writing, stating that he is in position to, and can and will resume operation and render normal service, and shall satisfy the Commission of the correctness of such statement or whenever in the judgment of the Governor the emergency declared by him no longer exists, the Commission shall restore the possession of the property so acquired by them to the owner or operator upon his request. In the event the Commission refuses such restoration of possession, the owner or operator shall have the right to have a rule issued requiring the Commission to show cause why such possession should not be restored and the court shall determine the matter as in this section provided.

B. Any such owner or operator shall be entitled to receive reasonable, proper and lawful compensation for the use of the properties so acquired by the Commonwealth and paid the same out of the state treasury. In the event the Commission has acquired such property by purchase, the owners upon reacquisition shall repay the purchase price less fair compensation for use of such property. In the event the Commission and the owner or operator are unable to agree upon the amount of such compensation either party in interest may file a petition in the circuit court for the county or city in which the property is located for the purpose of having the same judicially determined. The court shall, without a jury, hear such evidence and argument of counsel as may be deemed appropriate and render judgment thereon or may refer to a commissioner such questions as are considered proper and act upon the commissioner's report as in other equity proceedings. An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any final judgment of the court rendered upon the provisions of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 45-153; 1950, p. 32; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-153; 1994, c. 28.

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

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