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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 12. Permits for Certain Mining Operations; Reclamation of Land
5/21/2022

Chapter 12. Permits for Certain Mining Operations; Reclamation of Land.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 45.2-1200. (Effective October 1, 2021) Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Disturbed land" means the area from which overburden has been removed in any mining operation, plus the area covered by the spoil and refuse, plus any area used in such mining operation, including land used for processing, stockpiling, or settling ponds.

"Division" means the Division of Mineral Mining.

"Mineral" means ore, rock, and any other solid homogeneous crystalline chemical element or compound that results from the inorganic processes of nature other than coal.

"Mining" means the breaking or disturbing of the surface soil or rock in order to facilitate or accomplish the extraction or removal of minerals or any activity constituting all or part of a process for the extraction or removal of minerals so as to make them suitable for commercial, industrial, or construction use. "Mining" does not include (i) any aspect of deep mining that does not have a significant effect on the surface or (ii) excavation or grading when conducted solely in aid of onsite farming or construction. Nothing in this section applies to the mining of coal. "Mining" does not include, and this title, chapter, or section shall not be construed to apply to, the process of searching, prospecting, exploring, or investigating for minerals by drilling.

"Mining operation" means any area included in an approved plan of operation.

"Operator" means any individual, corporation or corporation officer, firm, joint venture, partnership, business trust, association, or any other group or combination acting as a unit, or any legal entity that is engaged in mining.

"Orphaned lands" means lands disturbed by surface mining of minerals, other than coal operations, that were not required by law to be reclaimed or that have not been reclaimed.

"Overburden" means all of the earth and other materials that lie above a natural deposit of minerals, ores, rock, or other solid matter and also other materials after removal from their natural deposit in the process of mining.

"Reclamation" means the restoration or conversion of disturbed land to a stable condition that minimizes or prevents adverse disruption and the injurious effects of such disruption and presents an opportunity for further productive use if such use is reasonable.

"Refuse" means all waste soil, rock, mineral tailings, slimes, and other material directly connected with the mine or with the cleaning and preparation of substances mined, including all waste material deposited in the permit area from other sources.

"Spoil" means any overburden or other material removed from its natural state in the process of mining.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-180; 1972, c. 206; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 1984, c. 590; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1201. (Effective October 1, 2021) Construction of chapter.

Nothing in this chapter is intended, nor shall anything in this chapter be construed, to limit, impair, abridge, create, enlarge, or otherwise affect, substantively or procedurally, the right of any person who is a party to any dispute involving property rights, or the right of any person to seek damages or other relief on account of injury to persons or property due to mining activities regulated by this chapter or to maintain any action or other appropriate procedure therefor. Nothing in this chapter is intended, nor shall anything in this chapter be construed, to affect the powers of the Commonwealth to initiate, prosecute, and maintain actions to abate public nuisances.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-180.2; 1984, c. 590; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1202. (Effective October 1, 2021) Authority of Director; enforcement of chapter by injunction.

A. The Director may adopt regulations to effectuate the provisions and the policy of this chapter and may adopt definitions for use in interpreting this chapter.

B. The Director may administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter. In administering and enforcing the provisions of this chapter pursuant to the findings and legislative policy adopted by the General Assembly, the Director shall exercise the following powers in addition to any other powers conferred upon him by law:

1. Supervise the administration and enforcement of this chapter and all regulations and orders adopted thereunder;

2. Issue orders to enforce the provisions of this chapter, all regulations adopted thereunder, and the terms and conditions of any permit;

3. Make investigations and inspections to ensure compliance with any provision of this chapter or any regulation or order adopted thereunder;

4. Encourage and conduct investigations, research, experiments, and demonstrations and collect and disseminate information relating to surface mining and reclamation of lands and waters affected by surface mining; and

5. Receive any federal funds, state funds, or any other funds and enter into any contracts for which funds are available to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

C. In addition to any administrative remedy granted herein, the Director may petition any court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction against a violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation or order adopted hereunder or to compel the performance of any act required by such provision, regulation, or order without regard to any adequate remedy that may exist at law, and such injunction shall be issued without bond. However, with regard to the suspension of mining operations, § 45.2-1225 shall control.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-180.3; 1984, c. 590; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1203. (Effective October 1, 2021) Exemption for restricted mining.

Any operator engaged in mining who disturbs less than one acre of land and removes less than 500 tons of minerals at any particular site is exempt from all mining permit fees, renewal fees, and bond requirements of this chapter if such person intending to engage in such restricted mining submits an application for a permit, a sketch of the mining site, and an operations plan to be adhered to in accordance with §§ 45.2-1205 and 45.2-1206. The Director shall approve the application if he determines that the issuance of the permit will not violate any provision of this chapter.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-180.4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Regulation of Mining Activity.

§ 45.2-1204. (Effective October 1, 2021) Permit Fee Fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Permit Fee Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All permit fees and renewal fees collected pursuant to § 45.2-1205 shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purpose of the administration of this chapter. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1205. (Effective October 1, 2021) Permit required; fee; renewal fee; application; furnishing copy of map, etc., to landowner; approval by Department.

A. It is unlawful for any operator to engage in any mining operation in the Commonwealth without first obtaining from the Department a permit to engage in such operation and paying a permit fee of $50 per acre for every acre of land to be affected by the total operation for which plans have been submitted. Such permit fee shall be deposited in the Permit Fee Fund pursuant to § 45.2-1204. A permit shall be obtained prior to the start of any mining operation.

B. A separate permit shall be secured for each mining operation conducted. An application for a mining permit shall be made in writing on forms prescribed by the Director and shall be signed and sworn to by the applicant or his duly authorized representative. The application, in addition to other information reasonably required by the Director, shall contain the following information: (i) the common name and geologic title, where applicable, of the mineral to be extracted; (ii) a description of the land upon which the applicant proposes to conduct mining operations, setting forth the name of the county or city in which such land is located, the location of its boundaries, and any other description of the land to be disturbed necessary to allow it to be located and distinguished from other lands and easily ascertainable as shown by a map attached thereto showing the amount of land to be disturbed; (iii) the name and address of the owner or owners of the surface of the land; (iv) the name and address of the owner or owners of the mineral, ore, or other solid matter; (v) the source of the operator's legal right to enter and conduct operations on the land to be covered by the permit; (vi) the total number of acres of land to be covered by the permit; (vii) a reasonable estimate of the number of acres of land that will be disturbed by mining operations on the area to be covered by the permit during the ensuing year; (viii) whether any mining permit of any type is now held by the applicant, and the number of such permits; (ix) the name and address of the applicant, if an individual; the names and addresses of all partners, if a partnership; the state of incorporation and the name and address of its registered agent, if a corporation; or the name and address of the trustee, if a trust; and (x) if known, whether the applicant, any subsidiary or affiliate of the applicant, any partnership, association, trust, or corporation controlled by or under common control with the applicant, or any person required to be identified by clause (ix) has ever had a mining permit of any type issued under the laws of the Commonwealth or any other state revoked or has ever had a mining or other bond, or security deposited in lieu of bond, forfeited. Clause (iv) shall not apply to the shell, container chamber, passage, or open space set forth in § 45.2-402.

C. The application for a permit shall be accompanied by two copies of an accurate map or aerial photograph or plan that meets the following requirements:

1. Is prepared by a licensed engineer or licensed land surveyor or issued by a standard mapping service or in a manner acceptable to the Director;

2. Identifies the area corresponding with the land described in the application;

3. Shows adjacent deep mining, if any, and the boundaries of surface properties, with the names of owners of the affected area that lie within 100 feet of any part of the affected area;

4. Is drawn to a scale of 400 feet to the inch or better;

5. Shows the names and locations of all streams, creeks, or other bodies of public water, roads, buildings, cemeteries, gas and oil wells, and utility lines on the area affected and within 500 feet of such area;

6. Shows by appropriate markings the boundaries of the area of land affected, the outcrop of the seam at the surface or the deposit to be mined, and the total number of acres involved in the area of land affected;

7. Shows the date on which the map was prepared, the north arrow, and the quadrangle name; and

8. Shows the drainage plan on and away from the area of land affected, including the directional flow of water, constructed drainways, natural waterways used for drainage, and the streams or tributaries receiving the discharge.

D. No permit shall be issued by the Department until the Director has approved the plan of operation required in this section and § 45.2-1206 and the bond from the applicant as required in § 45.2-1208.

E. If the operator believes that changes in his original plan are necessary or if additional land not shown as a part of the approved plan of operation is to be disturbed, he shall submit an amended plan of operation that shall be reviewed for approval by the Director in the same manner as an original plan and shall be subject to the provisions of this section and §§ 45.2-1206 and 45.2-1208.

F. If within 10 days of the anniversary date of the permit, the Director, after inspection, is satisfied that the operation is proceeding according to the plan submitted to and approved by him, then the Director shall renew the permit upon payment of a renewal fee by the operator for land to be affected by the total operation in the next ensuing year according to the following schedule:

Anniversary Date: Renewal Fee:

Beginning July 1, 2019 $18 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2020 $20 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2021 $22 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2022 $24 per disturbed acre

The renewal fees shall be deposited in the Permit Fee Fund pursuant to § 45.2-1204.

G. Upon receipt of a written request by any landowner on whose property a sand and gravel operation is permitted pursuant to this section, the operator of the sand and gravel operation shall provide a copy of the map, photograph, or plan to the landowner.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-181; 1972, c. 206; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 1983, c. 322; 1996, cc. 648, 659; 2003, cc. 542, 550; 2012, c. 695; 2019, c. 538; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1206. (Effective October 1, 2021) Operations plan; reclamation; policy of Director.

A. Each application for a permit shall be accompanied by an operations plan that follows the form and contains the accompanying material that the Director requires. The operations plan shall describe the specifications for surface grading and restoration, including sketches delineating placement of spoil, stockpiles, and tailing ponds, to a surface that is suitable for the proposed subsequent use of the land after reclamation is completed.

B. The operations plan shall include a provision for reclamation of all land estimated to be affected by the mining operation for which the permit is sought. The reclamation provision shall follow the form and contain the accompanying material that the Director requires and shall state:

1. The planned use to which the affected land is to be returned through reclamation; and

2. The proposed actions to ensure suitable reclamation of the affected land for the planned use to be carried out by the applicant as an integral part of the proposed mining operation and to be conducted simultaneously insofar as practicable. The Director shall set schedules for the integration of reclamation with the mining operation according to the various individual mineral types.

C. It is the policy of the Director to encourage adoption of productive land use, such as use for pasture, agricultural purposes, recreational areas, sanitary landfills, forestry and timberland operations, and industrial and building sites, and to consider the general original contour in determining the particular reclamation program for the acreage. The Director may require an amendment to the operations plan to meet the exigencies of any unanticipated circumstance or event.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-182.1; 1984, c. 590; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1207. (Effective October 1, 2021) Special Reclamation Fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Special Reclamation Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All forfeited bonds collected pursuant to this chapter shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purpose of performing reclamation pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1208. (Effective October 1, 2021) Bond of operator.

Each operator at the time of filing his application shall furnish bond on a form that is prescribed by the Director. Such bond shall be payable to the Department and conditioned on the faithful performance by the operator of all requirements of this chapter and the operations plan as approved and directed by the Department. The amount of bond shall be $3,000 per acre, based upon the number of acres of land that the operator estimates will be affected by mining operations during the next year. Such bond shall be executed by the operator and by a corporate surety licensed to do business in the Commonwealth. However, in lieu of such bond the operator may deposit cash or collateral security acceptable to the Director.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-183; 1970, c. 245; 1972, c. 206; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 2017, c. 4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1209. (Effective October 1, 2021) Review of operations plan and reclamation provision by Director; issuance of permit.

A. Upon receipt of an operations plan acceptable to the Director and bond as required by this article, the Director shall review the plan. If the Director approves the plan, he shall issue a permit. If the Director disapproves the plan, he shall furnish the applicant with his written objections thereto and his required amendments. Until the applicant amends his operations plan to meet the Director's reasonable objections and files a satisfactory amended plan with the Director, no permit shall be issued.

B. In reviewing the operations plan, if the Director finds that the operation will constitute a hazard to the public safety or welfare, or that a reasonable degree of reclamation or proper drainage control is not feasible, he may disapprove the permit application. However, the Director may approve the permit after deleting the areas from the permit application that he holds in his findings to be objectionable.

C. The Director shall issue the permit unless he finds that the applicant has had control or has had common control with a person, partnership, association, trust, or corporation that has had a mining permit revoked or bond or other security forfeited for failure to reclaim lands as required by law, in which event no permit shall be issued. However, if an operator who forfeited a bond pays, within 30 days of notice and demand by the Director, the cost of reclamation in excess of the amount of the forfeited bond, or if any bond is forfeited and the amount forfeited is equal to or greater than the cost of reclamation, such operator shall then become eligible for another permit.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-184; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1210. (Effective October 1, 2021) Application for permit; adjoining landowners; local official.

A. Each application for a permit shall be accompanied by a statement showing the names and addresses of the owners of each property within 1,000 feet of the property line of any land proposed to be permitted, as well as certification that such landowners have been notified by certified mail of the application for a permit unless notified previously. Such residents may file written objections with the Director and may request a hearing.

B. Each application for a permit shall also be accompanied by a statement certifying that the chief administrative official of the county or city in which the land proposed to be permitted is located has been notified of the proposed operation by certified mail.

C. This section applies to an initial application for a permit only, and no new notice shall be required for a renewal application or for a permit for acreage in addition to that originally permitted.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-184.1; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1211. (Effective October 1, 2021) Succession of one operator by another at uncompleted project.

If one operator succeeds another at any uncompleted operation, whether by sale, assignment, lease, merger, or otherwise, the Director may release the first operator from all liability under this chapter as to that particular operation and transfer the permit to the successor operator. However, the successor operator shall have complied with the requirements of this chapter and shall assume as part of his obligation under this chapter all liability for the reclamation of the area of land affected by the first operator. No fee, or any portion thereof, paid by the first operator shall be returned to either operator. The permit fee for the successor operator for the area of land permitted by the first operator shall be calculated according to the following schedule, except as provided by § 45.2-1203:

Date of Succession: Permit Fee:

Beginning July 1, 2019 $18 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2020 $20 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2021 $22 per disturbed acre

Beginning July 1, 2022 $24 per disturbed acre

The mining permit for the successor operator shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance and shall be renewed thereafter in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-184.2; 1996, cc. 648, 659; 2003, cc. 542, 550; 2019, c. 538; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1212. (Effective October 1, 2021) Additional bond to be posted annually; release of previous bond; report of reclamation work.

A. Within 10 days following the anniversary date of any permit, the operator shall post additional bond in the amount of $3,000 per acre for each acre of land estimated by him to be disturbed during the next year following the anniversary date of the permit. Bond or other security previously posted shall be released for each area disturbed in the last 12 months if reclamation work has been completed or transferred to additional acres to be disturbed.

B. To obtain the approval of the Director to release the bond, the operator shall file with the Department a written report on a form prescribed by the Department stating under oath that reclamation has been completed on certain lands and shall submit (i) the identity of the operation; (ii) the county or city in which the operation is located and its location with reference to the nearest public highway; (iii) a description of the area of land affected by the operation within the period of time covered by such report with sufficient certainty to enable the operation to be located and distinguished from other lands; and (iv) an accurate map or plan prepared by a licensed land surveyor or licensed engineer or issued by a standard mapping service or in a manner acceptable to the Director showing the boundary lines of the area of land affected by the operation, the number of acres comprising such area, and the methods of access to the area from the nearest public highway.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-185; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 2017, c. 4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1213. (Effective October 1, 2021) Notice of noncompliance served on operator.

A. The Director may cause a notice of noncompliance to be served on an operator whenever the operator fails to obey any order by the Director to:

1. Apply a control technique or institute an action approved in his operations or reclamation plan;

2. Comply with any required amendment to the operations or reclamation plan; or

3. Comply with any other requirement of this chapter or any regulation adopted pursuant to this chapter that affects the health, safety, or welfare of the Commonwealth.

B. A copy of the notice shall be delivered to the operator or served by certified mail addressed to the operator at the permanent address shown on the application for a permit. The notice shall specify in writing how the operator has failed to obey the order of the Director and shall require the operator to comply with the order within a reasonable period of time as fixed by the Director following service of the notice.

C. If the operator has not complied with the requirements set forth in the notice of noncompliance within the time limits fixed therein, the Director shall revoke the permit and declare the forfeiture of the entire bond. When the bond is collected, it shall be deposited in the Special Reclamation Fund created pursuant to § 45.2-1207. After completion of the reclamation and payment of all fees as required by this chapter, any additional funds from the forfeiture of the bond shall be returned to the corporate surety, and any additional funds from the forfeiture of the collateral security, certified check, or cash that was deposited in lieu of bond shall be returned to the person who provided it originally or to the operator. Within 30 days of the issuance of any permit revocation or bond forfeiture made under this section, the operator may request a review pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 (§ 2.2-4018 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-186.1; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1214. (Effective October 1, 2021) Collection of debts.

The amount by which the cost of reclamation exceeds the amount of the operator's forfeited bond shall constitute a debt of the operator to the Commonwealth. The Director is authorized to collect such debts, together with the cost of collection, through appropriate legal action or by declaring the forfeiture of other payments. Moneys collected through legal action, less the cost of collections, shall be deposited in the Special Reclamation Fund created pursuant to § 45.2-1207.

1981, c. 76, § 45.1-186.2; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1215. (Effective October 1, 2021) Commonwealth to have lien for reclamation work.

The Commonwealth shall have a lien, if perfected as provided in subsection A of § 45.2-1216, on land owned by the operator and reclaimed by the Director pursuant to this chapter for the amount of the increase in the appraised market value of the land resulting from the reclamation, except that no lien shall attach to or be filed against the property of any person if the Director waives the lien as provided in subsection B of § 45.2-1216.

2017, c. 4, § 45.1-186.3; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1216. (Effective October 1, 2021) Perfection of lien; waiver of lien.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, the Director shall perfect the lien given under the provisions of § 45.2-1215 by filing, within six months after completion of the reclamation, in the clerk's office of the court of the county or city in which the land or any part thereof is located, a statement consisting of the names of all owners of record of the property sought to be charged; an itemized account of moneys expended for the reclamation work; notarized copies of appraisals, made by an independent appraiser, of the fair market value of the land both before and upon completion of the reclamation work; and a brief description of the property to which the lien attaches.

B. The Director shall waive a lien if he determines that (i) the direct and indirect costs of filing such lien exceed the increase in fair market value resulting from reclamation or (ii) if reclamation is necessitated by an unforeseen occurrence, the reclamation will not result in a significant increase in the fair market value of the land.

2017, c. 4, § 45.1-186.4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1217. (Effective October 1, 2021) Recordation and indexing of lien; notice.

It is the duty of the clerk in whose office the statement described in § 45.2-1216 is filed to record the statement in the deed books of such office, and index the statement in the general index of deeds, in the name of the Commonwealth as well as the owner of the property, showing the type of the lien. From the time of such recording and indexing, all persons shall be deemed to have notice thereof.

2017, c. 4, § 45.1-186.5; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1218. (Effective October 1, 2021) Priority of lien.

Any lien acquired under this article shall have priority as a lien second only to the lien of real estate taxes imposed upon the land.

2017, c. 4, § 45.1-186.6; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1219. (Effective October 1, 2021) Hearing to determine amount of lien.

Any party having an interest in the real property against which a lien has been filed may, within 60 days of such filing, petition the circuit court of the county or city in which the property or some portion thereof is located to hold a hearing to determine the increase in the fair market value of the land as a result of reclamation. After reasonable notice to the Director, the court shall hold a hearing to determine the amount of such increase. If the court determines such increase to be erroneously excessive, it shall determine the proper amount and order that the lien and the record be amended to show such amount.

2017, c. 4, § 45.1-186.7; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1220. (Effective October 1, 2021) Satisfaction of lien.

Any lien acquired under this article shall be satisfied to the extent of the value of the consideration received at the time of transfer of ownership. Any unsatisfied portion shall remain as a lien on the property and may be satisfied in accordance with this section. If an owner fails to satisfy a lien as provided in this section, the Director may proceed to enforce the lien by a petition filed in the circuit court of the county or city in which the property or some portion thereof is located.

2017, c. 4, § 45.1-186.8; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1221. (Effective October 1, 2021) Additional bond to cover amended estimate of land to be disturbed.

If, during any operation, it is found that the operator's estimate of the amount of disturbed land for which bond or other security has been posted for reclamation is less than the actual area disturbed, the Director shall order the operator to file additional bond or security sufficient to cover an amended estimate of land to be disturbed by such operation.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-187; 1974, c. 312; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1222. (Effective October 1, 2021) Interference with reclamation unlawful; other mining operations on land.

It is unlawful for any owner of surface rights or mineral rights to interfere with the operator in the discharge of his obligations to the Commonwealth for the reclamation of lands disturbed by him. If an owner of surface rights or mineral rights desires to conduct other mining operations on lands disturbed by the operator furnishing bond pursuant to this chapter, such owner or other person shall be in all respects subject to the provisions of this chapter and the Director shall then release an equivalent amount of bonds to the operator originally furnishing bond on the disturbed area.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-188; 1974, c. 312; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1223. (Effective October 1, 2021) Penalty for violation of chapter, etc.

Any violation of any provision of this chapter or of any order of the Director is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 or a maximum of one year in jail, or both.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-188; 1974, c. 312; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1224. (Effective October 1, 2021) Assistance of federal, state, and local agencies.

In approving plans of operation and in issuing rules and regulations for reclamation, the Director may avail himself and the Department of the advice, assistance, and facilities of local soil and water conservation district supervisors or any other federal, state, or local agency.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-192; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1225. (Effective October 1, 2021) Injunction prohibiting mining operation.

Whenever adverse ecological disruptions or the injurious effects thereof seriously threaten or endanger the health, safety, welfare, or property rights of citizens of the Commonwealth, and abatement by the application of control techniques is not feasible, the Director shall petition the appropriate circuit court for an injunction to prohibit further operations. Such injunction shall not relieve the operator of the duty to reclaim lands previously affected according to the terms and conditions of the applicable permit.

1977, c. 312, § 45.1-193.1; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1226. (Effective October 1, 2021) Appeals from decisions of the Department.

An appeal from any order of the Department shall be conducted in accordance with Article 3 (§ 2.2-4018 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act. The appeal shall be taken within 30 days following the issuance of the order by forwarding to the Director by certified mail a notice of appeal designating the order from which the appeal is taken.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-194; 1974, c. 312; 1979, c. 302; 1982, c. 117; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1227. (Effective October 1, 2021) Local standards and regulations; waiver of application of chapter; review for strict compliance with chapter.

A. Any locality may establish standards and adopt regulations dealing with the same subjects dealt with in this chapter so long as such standards and regulations are no less stringent than those adopted by the Director.

B. This chapter shall not be construed to repeal any local ordinance or regulation or charter provision in any locality where such provision is no less stringent than the standard adopted by the Director. The Director may waive the application of this chapter if, in his opinion, a locality in which mining operations are being conducted has enacted and is enforcing zoning ordinances dealing with the subject matter and prescribing standards and regulations not less stringent than those set forth in this chapter. If the Director waives any provision of this chapter, the operator shall comply strictly with all the provisions of the ordinances of the locality in which the operation is located.

C. The Director may also waive the application of this chapter as to any mining or borrow pit operation that is conducted solely and exclusively for a state project and that is subject by contract to the control and supervision of a state agency, so long as regulations satisfactory to the Director have been adopted and are incorporated into any contract for such removal. The locality or state agency shall ensure strict compliance with all provisions of the ordinances, regulations, or contracts and the Director shall from time to time review such ordinances, regulations, or contracts and their enforcement programs to ensure compliance with this chapter. If the Director determines that such strict compliance is not present, then he may rescind the waiver of the application of this chapter.

1968, c. 734, § 45.1-197; 1974, c. 312; 1977, c. 312; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 3. Orphaned Lands.

§ 45.2-1228. (Effective October 1, 2021) Orphaned Lands Reclamation Fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Orphaned Lands Reclamation Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. An amount equal to the average interest rate earned for all funds in the state treasury as applied to the Minerals Reclamation Fund created pursuant to § 45.2-1234 shall be paid annually into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purpose of the reclamation of orphaned lands pursuant to this article. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.18; 1984, c. 590; 2017, c. 4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1229. (Effective October 1, 2021) Survey; priorities for reclamation.

The Director shall conduct a survey to determine the extent of the orphaned lands in the Commonwealth and shall establish priorities for the reclamation of such lands.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1230. (Effective October 1, 2021) Agreements with owners or lessees; reclamation by Director.

The Director is authorized to enter into agreements with owners or lessees of orphaned land when the owners agree to the reclamation of such land by the Division to the extent and in the manner deemed appropriate or reasonable by the Director. The Director shall not return orphaned land to any use other than the minimum potential use of the land that existed prior to the initiation of mining operations unless the landowner or owners, or lessee or lessees, agree to bind themselves to the payment of the additional cost upon terms that the Director deems reasonable. In entering into such agreements, the Director shall be guided by the priorities for reclamation established by him and shall not enter into any such agreement unless funds are immediately available for the performance of the agreement by the Director as provided in this article.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.5; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1231. (Effective October 1, 2021) Contracts for reclamation.

The Director is authorized to contract with any state agency, federal agency, or private contractor through the Division for the purpose of reclaiming orphaned lands pursuant to the agreements specified in this article.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.6; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1232. (Effective October 1, 2021) Acceptance of federal funds, gifts, etc.

The Director is authorized (i) to accept federal funds or gifts or grants from any source for the purposes of this article; (ii) to acquire by gift or purchase, but not by the exercise of the power of eminent domain, any orphaned lands whose acquisition he judges to be in the public interest; and (iii) to utilize any such funds, gifts, or grants for the purposes of this article.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.7; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 4. Minerals Reclamation Fund.

§ 45.2-1233. (Effective October 1, 2021) Definition.

For purposes of this article, "Fund" means the Minerals Reclamation Fund created pursuant to § 45.2-1234.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1234. (Effective October 1, 2021) Minerals Reclamation Fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Minerals Reclamation Fund. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All payments made by operators in accordance with the provisions of this article shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the reclamation of mining operations pursuant to § 45.2-1238. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.8; 2017, c. 4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1235. (Effective October 1, 2021) Membership in Fund; payments required.

Each operator who has had five years of satisfactory operation in the Commonwealth under Chapter 12 (§ 45.2-1200 et seq.) shall become a member of the Fund by making an initial payment to the Fund of $50 for each acre estimated to be affected by mining operations during the next year. Thereafter, the member shall, within 10 days following the anniversary date of each permit issued to the member, make a payment to the Fund of $12.50 for each acre estimated to be affected by mining operations during the next year. Such payments shall continue to be made until the member has paid into the Fund a total of $500 for each acre estimated to be affected under the permits issued to the member.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.9; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1236. (Effective October 1, 2021) Release of bonds and other securities.

All bonds and other securities issued by an operator pursuant to § 45.2-1208 or 45.2-1212 shall be released upon the acceptance into the Fund of such bonds or securities and the payment of required fees.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.10; 2017, c. 4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1237. (Effective October 1, 2021) Return of member payments.

Subject to the provisions of § 45.2-1240, the Director shall return from the Fund to the member any payment that the member has previously paid to the Fund once the Director determines that the member has completed satisfactory reclamation in accordance with § 45.2-1212. The payments returned shall be only those payments that the member made for the acres that have been satisfactorily reclaimed. In lieu of such return, the member may request that the Director retain the payments in the Fund as payments for additional acres to be disturbed by the member's operations.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.11; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1238. (Effective October 1, 2021) Revocation of permits; reclamation work.

If a permit issued to a member is revoked pursuant to § 45.2-1213, then the payments that the member has made to the Fund in connection with such permit shall be forfeited to the Fund. The Director shall use such forfeited payments, or as much of such payments as necessary, for the reclamation of the mining operation to which the permit applied. If the cost of reclamation exceeds the amount of the forfeited payments, the Director shall also use the proceeds from the member's bond or other security also forfeited in conjunction with the revocation of the permit in accordance with § 45.2-1213, except that if all of the member's bonds and other securities have been released pursuant to § 45.2-1236, then the Director shall draw upon the Fund for the entire cost of reclamation.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.12; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1239. (Effective October 1, 2021) Collection of debt where cost of reclamation exceeds member's forfeited payments, etc.

The amount by which the cost of reclamation exceeds the amount of a member's forfeited payments and the member's forfeited bond or other security, if any, shall constitute a debt of the member to the Commonwealth. The Director is authorized to collect such debts together with the cost of collection through appropriate legal action or by declaring the forfeiture of other payments made by the member to the Fund. Moneys collected through legal action, less the costs of collection, shall be deposited in the Fund.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.13; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1240. (Effective October 1, 2021) Decreases in size of Fund.

Whenever the size of the Fund decreases to less than $2 million, the Director shall suspend the return of payments pursuant to § 45.2-1237 and shall assess all members an equal amount for each affected acre, for a total amount sufficient to raise the Fund to $2 million. In lieu of such assessment, all members shall at the request of the Director post bonds or other securities within six months after the Director so notifies the members. Failure of a member to post bond or other surety or to pay the required assessment shall result in the revocation of the permit of the member and the forfeiture of the member's payments in accordance with § 45.2-1238.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.14; 2017, c. 4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1241. (Effective October 1, 2021) Order of return of payments.

The return of payments to members shall be made in the order in which the Director approves the completion of reclamation pursuant to § 45.2-1212.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.15; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1242. (Effective October 1, 2021) Discontinuance of Fund.

If the Fund is discontinued, any amounts remaining in the Fund shall be returned to the members in proportion to the amount that each member has paid.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.16; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1243. (Effective October 1, 2021) Construction of article; Fund used solely for reclamation.

Nothing in this article shall be construed as vesting in any member any right, title, or interest in the Fund or the disposition of the Fund. The Fund shall be used solely for reclamation of land pursuant to this chapter.

1978, c. 634, § 45.1-197.17; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.