Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
9/25/2020

Article 3. Miscellaneous Provisions.

§ 45.1-253. Certain mining operations exempt from this chapter.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any of the following activities:

1. The extraction of coal by a landowner for his own noncommercial use from land owned or leased by him; and

2. The extraction of coal as an incidental part of federal, state or local government-financed highway or other construction under regulations established by the Director.

1979, c. 290; 1984, c. 590; 1988, c. 295.

§ 45.1-254. National pollutant discharge elimination system permits.

A. The authority to issue, amend, revoke and enforce national pollutant discharge elimination system permits under the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.) for the discharge of sewage, industrial wastes and other wastes from coal surface mining operations, to the extent delegated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and required under the federal Clean Water Act, P.L. 92-500, as amended, is vested solely in the Director, notwithstanding any provision of law contained in Title 62.1, except as provided herein. For the purpose of enforcement under this section, the provisions of §§ 62.1-44.31 and 62.1-44.32 shall apply to permits, orders and regulations issued by the Director in accordance with this section.

B. The Director shall transmit to the State Water Control Board a copy of each application for a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit received by the Director, and provide written notice to the State Water Control Board of every action related to the consideration of such permit application.

C. Prior to the issuance or reissuance of a permit, applicants shall submit an application on a form approved by the Director and a fee of $300 for each discharge outfall point under the permit. If an application is approved the permittee shall, on the anniversary of the permit approval for each year of the permit term, submit $300 for each discharge outfall point under the permit. Each permit shall remain valid for five years. All fees provided for under this section shall be in addition to any other fees levied pursuant to this chapter.

D. No national pollutant discharge elimination system permit shall be issued if, within 30 days of the date of the transmittal of the complete application and the proposed national pollution discharge elimination system permit, the State Water Control Board objects in writing to the issuance of such permit. Whenever the State Water Control Board objects to the issuance of such permit under this section, such written objection shall contain a statement of the reasons for such objection and the effluent limitations and conditions which such permits would include if it were issued by the State Water Control Board.

E. An applicant who is aggrieved by an objection made under subsection D of this section shall have the right to a hearing before the State Water Control Board pursuant to § 62.1-44.25. If the State Water Control Board withdraws, in writing, its objection to the issuance of a certificate, the Director may issue the permit. Any applicant, aggrieved by a final decision of the State Water Control Board made pursuant to this subsection, shall have the right to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

F. Whenever, on the basis of any information available to it, the State Water Control Board finds that any person is in violation of any condition or limitation contained in a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit issued by the Director, it shall notify the person in alleged violation and the Director. If beyond the thirtieth day after notification by the State Water Control Board, the Director has not commenced appropriate enforcement action, the State Water Control Board may take appropriate enforcement action pursuant to §§ 62.1-44.15, 62.1-44.23, and 62.1-44.32.

G. The Director shall promulgate such regulations as deemed necessary for the issuance, administration, monitoring and enforcement of national pollutant discharge elimination system permits for coal surface mining operations.

H. For the purpose of this section, the terms "sewage," "industrial wastes" and "other wastes" shall have the meanings ascribed to them in § 62.1-44.3.

I. The Director, by examining the available and relevant data, shall determine whether a discharge may cause or contribute to an instream excursion above the narrative or numeric criteria of a water quality standard.

J. If a total maximum daily load (TMDL) has been established by the State Water Control Board for the receiving water body, then there shall be consideration of the TMDL in the reasonable potential determination as to whether a discharge may cause or contribute to an instream excursion above the narrative or numeric criteria of a water quality standard. If the receiving water body does not have a TMDL established, the Director may consider biological monitoring, chemical monitoring, and whole effluent toxicity testing to determine whether a discharge may cause or contribute to an instream excursion above the narrative or numeric criteria of a water quality standard. The Director may require whole effluent toxicity testing if he determines that the discharge adversely affects the biological condition of the receiving water body.

1979, c. 290; 1986, c. 615; 2008, c. 275; 2011, cc. 252, 290.

§ 45.1-255. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1984, c. 714.

§ 45.1-255.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 489.

§ 45.1-256. Training and certification of blasters.

A. In order to ensure that explosives are used only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws, the Director is authorized to promulgate regulations requiring the training, examination and certification of persons engaging in or directly responsible for blasting or the use, storage and handling of explosives in coal surface mining operations.

B. The Division shall assume primary responsibility for conducting the examinations and issuing the certificates for such persons in accordance with the regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision A of this section.

1979, c. 290; 1984, cc. 230, 590; 1996, c. 758.

§ 45.1-257. Impeding, etc., Director or agents a misdemeanor.

It shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by confinement in jail for not more than one year, or both, for any person, except as permitted by law, to willfully resist, prevent, impede, or interfere with the Director or any of his agents in the performance of duties pursuant to this chapter.

1979, c. 290.

§ 45.1-258. Replacement of water supply.

A. The operator of any coal surface mining operation shall replace the water supply of an owner of interest in real property who obtains all or part of his supply of water for domestic, agricultural, industrial, or other legitimate use from an underground or surface source where such supply has been affected by contamination, diminution, or interruption proximately resulting from such coal surface mine operation.

B. Underground coal mining operations conducted after October 24, 1992, shall promptly replace any drinking, domestic, or residential water supply from a well or spring in existence prior to the application for a surface coal mining and reclamation permit which has been affected by contamination, diminution, or interruption resulting from underground coal mining operations. Until amendments to the regulations governing the permanent state regulatory program implementing the provisions of this subsection are effective, the Director shall issue guidelines in accordance with subsection A of § 45.1-230 regarding the replacement of any water supply pursuant to this subsection. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit or interrupt underground coal mining operations.

C. Each operator of an underground coal mine shall record the daily progress of mining operations on a mine map or maps maintained at the mine site or in the company office. The map or maps shall, at a minimum, include information on the daily progress of mining operations conducted after October 24, 1992, and be maintained until the completion of the mining. The operator shall provide the map or maps to the Division upon completion of mining and upon request of the Director.

D. If the Director has ordered replacement under subsection B of this section and the operator subject to the order has failed to provide the map or maps in accordance with subsection C of this section, then the Director's order shall not be overturned absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Upon conclusion of an investigation, if the Director does not order replacement under the provisions of subsection B of this section and reasonable access for a pre-mining survey was denied, the Director's determination shall not be overturned absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

E. Each operator of an underground coal mine shall provide a certificate issued by an insurance company licensed to do business in the Commonwealth certifying that the operator has a public liability insurance policy in force for the underground coal mining operation which shall provide for protection in an amount adequate to replace any water supply as required by subsection B of this section. The policy shall be maintained in full force during the term of the permit, including any renewal thereof, and including the liability period necessary to complete all reclamation operations under this chapter. The provisions of this subsection shall expire on the date the amendments to the regulations governing the permanent state regulatory program implementing the provisions of subsection B of this section are approved for the Commonwealth by the Secretary of the Interior of the United States.

1979, c. 290; 1993, c. 582.

§ 45.1-259. Applicability of chapter to public agencies, utilities and corporations.

Any agency, unit, or instrumentality of the Commonwealth, or of federal or local government, including any publicly owned utility or publicly owned corporation of federal, state or local government, which proposes to engage in coal surface mining operations which are subject to the requirements of this chapter shall comply with the provisions of this chapter.

1979, c. 290.

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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