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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter .
9/25/2021

Chapter 1. Administration.

Article 1. Department of Energy.

§ 45.2-100. (Effective October 1, 2021) Definitions.

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

"Chief" means the Chief of the Division of Mines of the Department of Energy.

"Department" means the Department of Energy.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Energy.

"State Geologist" means the Commissioner of Mineral Resources and State Geologist appointed pursuant to § 45.2-107.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-1.2; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.1; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 387, 532.

§ 45.2-101. (Effective October 1, 2021) Certified mail; subsequent mail or notices may be sent by regular mail.

Whenever in this title the Chief, the Director, or the Department is required to send any mail or notice by certified mail and such mail or notice is sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, then any subsequent, identical mail or notice that is sent by the Chief, the Director, or the Department may be sent by regular mail.

2011, c. 566, § 45.1-161.1:1; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-102. (Effective October 1, 2021) Department of Energy; appointment of Director.

The Department of Energy is established in the executive branch within the Secretariat of Commerce and Trade. The Department shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, to serve at the pleasure of the Governor for a term coincident with the Governor's term.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-1.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.2; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 387, 532.

§ 45.2-103. (Effective October 1, 2021) Powers of Department.

The Department shall have the following powers and duties, any of which, with the approval of the Director, may be exercised by any division of the Department with respect to matters assigned to that division:

1. To employ the personnel required to carry out the purposes of this title;

2. To make and enter into any contract or agreement necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this title, including reciprocal agreements with responsible officers of other states and contracts with the private sector, the United States, other state agencies, and governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth;

3. To accept grants from the United States government and agencies and instrumentalities thereof and any other source. To these ends, the Department may comply with any condition and execute any agreement that is necessary, convenient, or desirable;

4. To adopt regulations necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties or execution of its powers under this title or any other provision of law. Such regulations shall be adopted by the Department, the Chief, or the Director, as appropriate, and in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act; and

5. To do all acts necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this title.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-1.3; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.3; 2014, c. 145; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-104. (Effective October 1, 2021) Powers and duties of Director.

The Director, under the direction and control of the Governor, shall exercise the powers and perform the duties conferred or imposed upon him by law and shall perform any other duties required of him by the Governor.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-1.4; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.4; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-104.1. (Effective October 1, 2021) Appointment of Chief Clean Energy Policy Advisor.

The Chief Clean Energy Policy Advisor shall be appointed by the Governor and shall be under the direction of and report to the Director.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 532.

§ 45.2-105. (Effective October 1, 2021) Establishment of divisions; division heads.

The following divisions, through which the functions, powers, and duties of the Department may be discharged, are established in the Department: a Division of Mines, a Division of Mined Land Repurposing, a Division of Geology and Mineral Resources, a Division of Gas and Oil, a Division of Mineral Mining, a Division of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and a Division of Offshore Wind. The Director may establish other divisions as he deems necessary. The Director shall appoint persons to direct the various functions and programs of each division and may delegate to the head of any division any of the powers and duties conferred or imposed by law on the Director.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-1.5; 1990, c. 92; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.5; 2008, c. 369; 2020, c. 794; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 387, 532.

§ 45.2-106. (Effective October 1, 2021) Department to serve as lead agency for inspections undertaken subsequent to the issuance of a permit.

Following the issuance of any permit under Chapter 10 (§ 45.2-1000 et seq.) or 12 (§ 45.2-1200 et seq.), the Department shall serve as the lead agency for enforcement of the provisions of the permit. Any other agency that has reviewed and approved, or not disapproved, a permit application prior to its approval by the Director shall contact the Director or his designee prior to making any routine inspection. The Director or his designee shall then contact the permittee, if prior contact is to be made, to schedule the inspection and shall accompany any employee of any agency other than the Department during any inspection by such other agency. However, nothing in this section shall apply in the event of a blackwater discharge, a failure of a waste treatment facility, or any situation that in the judgment of the State Water Control Board requires an inspection on an emergency or expedited basis.

1984, c. 188, § 45.1-1.9; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.6; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Article 2. Division of Geology and Mineral Resources.

§ 45.2-107. (Effective October 1, 2021) Division of Geology and Mineral Resources; State Geologist.

There is established in the Department a Division of Geology and Mineral Resources. The Director shall appoint a geologist of established reputation as the Commissioner of Mineral Resources and State Geologist to serve as chief executive and head officer of the Division. As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning, "Division" means the Division of Geology and Mineral Resources.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-383; 2008, c. 369; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 387, 532.

§ 45.2-108. (Effective October 1, 2021) General powers and duties of State Geologist.

The State Geologist shall exercise those powers and perform those duties, in relation to mineral resources, geology, and geophysical matters, that are conferred or imposed upon the Director by the provisions of this title, including powers and duties delegated to him by the Director. The State Geologist may also exercise and perform such other powers and duties as are lawfully delegated to him and such powers and duties as are conferred or imposed upon him by law.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-384; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-109. (Effective October 1, 2021) Using or revealing proprietary information.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, neither the State Geologist nor any employee or agent of the Division shall make use of or reveal any proprietary information or statistic gathered from any source for any purpose other than that of this chapter, except with the express written consent of the source of such information or statistic. The State Geologist shall not reveal such information to the Director or any other employee of the Department who is not employed within the Division.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-385; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-110. (Effective October 1, 2021) Powers and duties of the Division.

The Division has the following powers and duties:

1. Examination of the geological formations of the Commonwealth and the resources contained therein, with special reference to both economic products and energy resources, including coal, ore, clay, feldspar, lime, natural gas, oil, cement, sand and gravel, stone, materials suitable for use in building and road construction, mineral water, other mineral substances, and geothermal energy resources.

2. Examination of latent resources and waste minerals to determine the best methods of utilizing them and study of the soils and weathered residuum as related to parent rock.

3. Maintenance of repositories for representative rock and mineral materials from various wells, mines, excavations, and naturally occurring exposures.

4. Maintenance of records and statistics of the mineral industry and geological conditions of the Commonwealth.

5. Performance of chemical and physical tests, including test borings, to acquire subsurface information relative to mineral deposits masked by soils and rock overburden.

6. Examination of the physical features of the Commonwealth with reference to their practical bearing upon the occupation and well-being of the people.

7. Preparation of special geological and economic maps and displays to illustrate the resources of the Commonwealth.

8. Preparation of regular and special reports, with necessary illustrations and maps, that embrace both a general and detailed description of the geology and mineral resources of the Commonwealth.

9. Consideration of such other scientific and economic questions that in the judgment of the Director are deemed of value to the people of the Commonwealth.

10. Arrangement for the investigation and reporting of the geology of the Commonwealth with the Director or the representative of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in regard to cooperation between the USGS and the Department in topographic and geologic work when deemed necessary and of advantage to the Commonwealth. The Director may accept or reject the work of the USGS.

11. Participation in matters requiring advice and guidance sought by state agencies and institutions concerning geological and mineral resources as related to state lands.

12. Provision of basic research and the development of methods utilized in the determination of characteristics, structure, and origin for geological formations and economic mineral deposits.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-386; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-111. (Effective October 1, 2021) Publication of reports.

The Director may direct the publication of the reports of the Division, with proper illustrations and maps, and the reports shall be distributed as the interests of the Commonwealth and of science indicate.

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

§ 45.2-112. (Effective October 1, 2021) Disposition of materials that have served purpose of the Division.

Materials collected after having served the purpose of the Division shall be distributed to the educational institutions of the Commonwealth in the manner that the Director determines to be of the greatest advantage to the educational interests of the Commonwealth.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-388; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-113. (Effective October 1, 2021) Immunity from prosecution for trespass.

No criminal action for trespass shall lie against the State Geologist or any agent or employee of the State Geologist pursuant to any lawful act done in the performance of his duties, including entry upon the lands of any person for the purpose of performing such duties.

1984, c. 590, § 45.1-389; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Chapter 2. Interstate Mining Compact.

§ 45.2-200. (Effective October 1, 2021) Governor authorized to execute Interstate Mining Compact.

The Governor is hereby authorized to execute, on behalf of the Commonwealth, a compact that is in form substantially as provided in § 45.2-201.

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

§ 45.2-201. (Effective October 1, 2021) Interstate Mining Compact.

INTERSTATE MINING COMPACT

ARTICLE I FINDINGS AND PURPOSES

A. The party states find that:

1. Mining and the contributions thereof to the economy and well-being of every state are of basic significance.

2. The effects of mining on the availability of land, water, and other resources for other uses present special problems that properly can be approached only with due consideration for the rights and interests of those engaged in mining, those using or proposing to use these resources for other purposes, and the public.

3. Measures for the reduction of the adverse effects of mining on land, water, and other resources may be costly and the devising of means to deal with them are of both public and private concern.

4. Such variables as soil structure and composition, physiography, climatic conditions, and the needs of the public make impracticable the application to all mining areas of a single standard for the conservation, adaptation, or restoration of mined land, or the development of mineral and other natural resources, but justifiable requirements of law and practice relating to the effects of mining on land, water, and other resources may be reduced in equity or effectiveness unless they pertain similarly from state to state for all mining operations similarly situated.

5. The states are in a position and have the responsibility to assure that mining shall be conducted in accordance with sound conservation principles and with due regard for local conditions.

B. The purposes of this compact are to:

1. Advance the protection and restoration of land, water, and other resources affected by mining.

2. Assist in the reduction or elimination or counteracting of pollution or deterioration of land, water, and air attributable to mining.

3. Encourage, with due recognition of relevant regional, physical, and other differences, programs in each of the party states that will achieve comparable results in protecting, conserving, and improving the usefulness of natural resources, to the end that the most desirable conduct of mining and related operations may be universally facilitated.

4. Assist the party states in their efforts to facilitate the use of land and other resources affected by mining, so that such use may be consistent with sound land use, public health, and public safety, and to this end to study and recommend, wherever desirable, techniques for the improvement, restoration, or protection of such land and other resources.

5. Assist in achieving and maintaining an efficient and productive mining industry and in increasing economic and other benefits attributable to mining.

ARTICLE II DEFINITIONS

As used in this compact:

"Mining" means the breaking of the surface soil in order to facilitate or accomplish the extraction or removal of minerals, ores, or other solid matter, any activity or process constituting all or part of a process for the extraction or removal of minerals, ores, and other solid matter from its original location, and the preparation, washing, cleaning, or other treatment of minerals, ores, or other solid matter so as to make them suitable for commercial, industrial, or construction use but shall not include those aspects of deep mining not having significant effect on the surface and shall not include excavation or grading when conducted solely in aid of onsite farming or construction.

"State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the United States.

ARTICLE III STATE PROGRAMS

Each party state agrees that within a reasonable time it will formulate and establish an effective program for the conservation and use of mined land, by the establishment of standards, enactment of laws, or the continuing of the same in force, to accomplish:

1. The protection of the public and the protection of adjoining and other landowners from damage to their lands and the structures and other property thereon resulting from the conduct of mining operations or the abandonment or neglect of land and property formerly used in the conduct of such operations.

2. The conduct of mining and the handling of refuse and other mining wastes in ways that will reduce adverse effects on the economic, residential, recreational, or aesthetic value and utility of land and water.

3. The institution and maintenance of suitable programs of adaptation, restoration, and rehabilitation of mined lands.

4. The prevention, abatement, and control of water, air, and soil pollution resulting from mining, present, past, and future.

ARTICLE IV POWERS

In addition to any other powers conferred upon the Interstate Mining Commission, established by Article V of this compact, the Commission shall have power to:

1. Study mining operations, processes, and techniques for the purpose of gaining knowledge concerning the effects of such operations, processes, and techniques on land, soil, water, air, plant and animal life, recreation, and patterns of community or regional development or change.

2. Study the conservation, adaptation, improvement, and restoration of land and related resources affected by mining.

3. Make recommendations concerning any aspect or aspects of law or practice and governmental administration dealing with matters within the purview of this compact.

4. Gather and disseminate information relating to any of the matters within the purview of this compact.

5. Cooperate with the federal government and any public or private entities having interest in any subject coming within the purview of this compact.

6. Consult, upon the request of a party state and within resources available therefor, with the officials of such state in respect to any problem within the purview of this compact.

7. Study and make recommendations with respect to any practice, process, technique, or course of action that may improve the efficiency of mining or the economic yield from mining operations.

8. Study and make recommendations relating to the safeguarding of access to resources that are or may become the subject of mining operations to the end that the needs of the economy for the products of mining may not be adversely affected by unplanned or inappropriate use of land and other resources containing minerals or otherwise connected with actual or potential mining sites.

ARTICLE V THE COMMISSION

A. There is hereby created an agency of the party states to be known as the Interstate Mining Commission (the Commission). The Commission shall be composed of one commissioner from each party state who shall be the Governor thereof. Pursuant to the laws of his party state, each Governor shall have the assistance of any advisory body (including membership from mining industries, conservation interests, and such other public and private interests as may be appropriate) in considering problems relating to mining and in discharging his responsibilities as the commissioner of his state on the Commission. In any instance where a Governor is unable to attend a meeting of the Commission or perform any other function in connection with the business of the Commission, he shall designate an alternate from among the members of the advisory body required by this subsection who shall represent him and act in his place and stead. The designation of an alternate shall be communicated by the Governor to the Commission in such manner as its bylaws may provide.

B. The commissioners shall be entitled to one vote each on the Commission. No action of the Commission making a recommendation pursuant to subdivision 3, 7, or 8 of Article IV or requesting, accepting, or disposing of funds, services, or other property pursuant to this subsection, subsection G or H of this article, or Article VII shall be valid unless taken at a meeting at which a majority of the total number of votes on the Commission is cast in favor thereof. All other action shall be by a majority of those present and voting, provided that action of the Commission shall be only at a meeting at which a majority of the commissioners, or their alternates, is present. The Commission may establish and maintain such facilities as may be necessary for the transacting of its business. The Commission may acquire, hold, and convey real and personal property and any interest therein.

C. The Commission shall have a seal.

D. The Commission shall elect annually, from among its members, a chairman, a vice-chairman, and a treasurer. The Commission shall appoint an Executive Director and fix his duties and compensation. Such Executive Director shall serve at the pleasure of the Commission. The Executive Director, the Treasurer, and such other personnel as the Commission shall designate shall be bonded. The amount or amounts of such bond or bonds shall be determined by the Commission.

E. Irrespective of the civil service, personnel, or other merit system laws of any of the party states, the Executive Director with the approval of the Commission shall appoint, remove, or discharge such personnel as may be necessary for the performance of the Commission's functions and shall fix the duties and compensation of such personnel.

F. The Commission may establish and maintain independently or in conjunction with a party state, a suitable retirement system for its employees. Employees of the Commission shall be eligible for social security coverage in respect of old age and survivor's insurance, provided that the Commission takes such steps as may be necessary pursuant to the laws of the United States to participate in such program of insurance as a governmental agency or unit. The Commission may establish and maintain or participate in such additional programs of employee benefits as it may deem appropriate.

G. The Commission may borrow, accept, or contract for the services of personnel from any state, the United States, or any other governmental agency, or from any person, firm, association, or corporation.

H. The Commission may accept for any of its purposes and functions under this compact any and all donations, and grants of money, equipment, supplies, materials, and service, conditional or otherwise, from any state, the United States, or any other governmental agency, or from any person, firm, association, or corporation, and may receive, utilize, and dispose of the same. Any donation or grant accepted by the Commission pursuant to this subsection or services borrowed pursuant to subsection G of this article shall be reported in the annual report of the Commission. Such report shall include the nature, amount, and conditions, if any, of the donation, grant, or services borrowed and the identity of the donor or lender.

I. The Commission shall adopt bylaws for the conduct of its business and shall have the power to amend and rescind these bylaws. The Commission shall publish its bylaws in convenient form and shall file a copy thereof and a copy of any amendment thereto with the appropriate agency or officer in each of the party states.

J. The Commission annually shall make to the Governor, legislature, and advisory body required by subsection A of this article of each party state a report covering the activities of the Commission for the preceding year and embodying such recommendations as may have been made by the Commission. The Commission may make such additional reports as it may deem desirable.

ARTICLE VI ADVISORY, TECHNICAL, AND REGIONAL COMMITTEES

The Commission shall establish such advisory, technical, and regional committees as it may deem necessary, membership on which shall include private persons and public officials, and shall cooperate with and use the services of any such committees and the organizations that the members represent in furthering any of its activities. Such committees may be formed to consider problems of special interest to any party states, problems dealing with particular commodities or types of mining operations, problems related to reclamation, development, or use of mined land, or any other matters of concern to the Commission.

ARTICLE VII FINANCE

A. The Commission shall submit to the Governor or designated officer or officers of each party state a budget of its estimated expenditures for such period as may be required by the laws of that party state for presentation to the legislature thereof.

B. Each of the Commission's budgets of estimated expenditures shall contain specific recommendations of the amount or amounts to be appropriated by each of the party states. The total amount of appropriations requested under any such budget shall be apportioned among the party states as follows: one-half in equal shares and the remainder in proportion to the value of minerals, ores, and other solid matter mined. In determining such values, the Commission shall employ such available public source or sources of information as, in its judgment, present the most equitable and accurate comparisons among the party states. Each of the Commission's budgets of estimated expenditures and requests for appropriations shall indicate the source or sources used in obtaining information concerning the value of minerals, ores, and other solid matter mined.

C. The Commission shall not pledge the credit of any party state. The Commission may meet any of its obligations in whole or in part with funds available to it under subsection H of Article V, provided that the Commission takes specific action setting aside such funds prior to incurring any obligation to be met in whole or in part in such manner. Except where the Commission makes use of funds available to it under subsection H of Article V, the Commission shall not incur any obligation prior to the allotment of funds by the party states adequate to meet the same.

D. The Commission shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements. The receipts and disbursements of the Commission shall be subject to the audit and accounting procedures established under its bylaws. All receipts and disbursements of funds handled by the Commission shall be audited yearly by a qualified public accountant and the report of the audit shall be included in and become part of the annual report of the Commission.

E. The accounts of the Commission shall be open at any reasonable time for inspection by duly constituted officers of the party states and by any persons authorized by the Commission.

F. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prevent Commission compliance with laws relating to audit or inspection of accounts by or on behalf of any government contributing to the support of the Commission.

ARTICLE VIII ENTRY INTO FORCE AND WITHDRAWAL

A. This compact shall enter into force when enacted into law by any four or more states. Thereafter, this compact shall become effective as to any other state upon its enactment thereof.

B. Any party state may withdraw from this compact by enacting a statute repealing the same, but no such withdrawal shall take effect until one year after the Governor of the withdrawing state has given notice in writing of the withdrawal to the Governors of all other party states. No withdrawal shall affect any liability already incurred by or chargeable to a party state prior to the time of such withdrawal.

ARTICLE IX EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS

Nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit, repeal, or supersede any other law of any party state.

ARTICLE X CONSTRUCTION AND SEVERABILITY

This compact shall be liberally construed so as to effectuate the purposes thereof. The provisions of this compact shall be severable and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of any state or of the United States or the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this compact and the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person, or circumstance shall not be affected thereby. If this compact shall be held contrary to the constitution of any state participating herein, the compact shall remain in full force and effect as to the remaining party states and in full force and effect as to the state affected as to all severable matters.

Chapter 3. Interstate Compact to Conserve Oil and Gas.

§ 45.2-300. (Effective October 1, 2021) Governor authorized to execute Interstate Compact to Conserve Oil and Gas.

The Governor is hereby authorized and requested to execute, on behalf of the Commonwealth with any other state legally joining therein, a compact that is in form substantially as provided in § 45.2-301.

1982, c. 570, § 45.1-381; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-301. (Effective October 1, 2021) Interstate Compact to Conserve Oil and Gas.

INTERSTATE COMPACT TO CONSERVE OIL AND GAS

Article I.

This agreement may become effective within any compacting state at any time as prescribed by that state and shall become effective within those states ratifying it whenever any three of the states of Texas, Oklahoma, California, Kansas, and New Mexico have ratified and Congress has given its consent. Any oil-producing state may become a party hereto as hereinafter provided.

Article II.

The purpose of this compact is to conserve oil and gas by the prevention of physical waste thereof from any cause.

Article III.

Each state bound hereby agrees that within a reasonable time it will enact laws, or if the laws have been enacted to continue the same in force, to accomplish within reasonable limits the prevention of:

1. The operation of any oil well with an inefficient gas-oil ratio.

2. The drowning with water of any stratum capable of producing oil or gas, or both oil and gas, in paying quantities.

3. The avoidable escape into the open air or the wasteful burning of gas from a natural gas well.

4. The creation of unnecessary fire hazards.

5. The drilling, equipping, locating, spacing, or operating of a well or wells so as to bring about physical waste of oil or gas or loss in the ultimate recovery thereof.

6. The inefficient, excessive, or improper use of the reservoir energy in producing any well.

The enumeration of the foregoing subjects shall not limit the scope of the authority of any state.

Article IV.

Each state bound hereby agrees that it will, within a reasonable time, enact statutes, or if such statutes have been enacted that it will continue the same in force, providing in effect that oil produced in violation of its valid oil and/or gas conservation statutes or any valid rule, order, or regulation promulgated thereunder shall be denied access to commerce and providing for stringent penalties for the waste of either oil or gas.

Article V.

It is not the purpose of this compact to authorize the states joining herein to limit the production of oil or gas for the purpose of stabilizing or fixing the price thereof, or to create or perpetuate monopoly, or to promote regimentation, but is limited to the purpose of conserving oil and gas and preventing the avoidable waste thereof within reasonable limitations.

Article VI.

Each state joining herein shall appoint one representative to a commission hereby constituted and designated as the Interstate Oil Compact Commission (the Commission), the duty of which shall be to make inquiry and ascertain from time to time such methods, practices, circumstances, and conditions as may be disclosed for bringing about conservation and the prevention of physical waste of oil and gas, and at such intervals as the Commission deems beneficial, it shall report its findings and recommendations to the several states for adoption or rejection.

The Commission shall have power to recommend the coordination of the exercise of the police powers of the several states within their several jurisdictions to promote the maximum ultimate recovery from the petroleum reserves of the states and to recommend measures for the maximum ultimate recovery of oil and gas. The Commission shall adopt suitable rules and regulations for the conduct of its business.

No action shall be taken by the Commission except (i) by the affirmative vote of the majority of the whole number of the compacting states represented at any meeting and (ii) by a concurring vote of a majority in interest of the compacting states at the meeting, such interest to be determined as follows: the vote of each state shall be in the decimal proportion fixed by the ratio of its daily average production during the preceding calendar half-year to the daily average production of the compacting states during that period.

Article VII.

No state by joining herein shall become financially obligated to any other state, nor shall the breach of the terms hereof by any state subject that state to financial responsibility to the other states joining herein.

Article VIII.

This compact shall continue in effect until Congress withdraws its consent. Any state joining herein may, upon 60 days' notice, withdraw herefrom.

The representatives of the signatory states have signed this agreement in a single original that shall be deposited in the archives of the Department of State of the United States, and a duly certified copy shall be forwarded to the Governor of each of the signatory states.

This compact shall become effective when ratified and approved as provided in Article I. Any oil-producing state may become a party thereto by affixing its signature to a counterpart to be similarly deposited, certified, and ratified.

§ 45.2-302. (Effective October 1, 2021) Governor to act as representative to Interstate Oil Compact Commission.

A. The Governor is hereby designated as the official representative of the Commonwealth on the Interstate Oil Compact Commission (the Commission) provided for in the compact ratified by this chapter. The Governor shall exercise and perform for the Commonwealth all powers and duties imposed by the compact upon representatives to the Commission.

B. The Director of the Department of Energy is hereby designated as the assistant representative and shall act as the official representative of the Commonwealth on the Commission when the authority to so act is delegated to him by the Governor.

1982, c. 570, § 45.1-382; 1984, c. 590; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

Chapter 4. Presumptions Regarding Ownership.

§ 45.2-400. (Effective October 1, 2021) Presumption that no coal, minerals, ore, or oil exists in certain lands.

A. Subject to the provisions of subsection B, in any case in which either (i) a claim to coal, minerals, ore, oil, or subsurface substances in, on, or under lands in the Commonwealth or (ii) the right to enter such land for the purpose of exploring, mining, boring, and sinking shafts for such coal, minerals, ore, oil, or subsurface substances is derived or reserved by any writing made 35 years or more prior to the institution of the action pursuant to § 45.2-401, it shall be prima facie presumed that no coal, minerals, ore, oil, or subsurface substances exist in, on, or under such lands, except lands lying west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall apply only if (i) for a period of 35 years or more, such right to explore or mine has not been exercised, the person having such claim or right has never been charged with taxes thereon, all the taxes on the land have been charged to and paid by the person holding the land subject to such right to explore or mine, and no deed of bargain and sale of such claim or reservation in such mineral rights in the lands embraced in such claim has been recorded in the clerk's office of the county wherein the lands are located or (ii) the right to explore and mine has been exercised, the coal, minerals, ore, oil, or subsurface substances in or on the land have been exhausted, and the right of mining or boring has been abandoned for a period of 35 years or more.

1924, p. 719; 1930, p. 721; Michie Code 1942, § 6239a; 1944, p. 48; Code 1950, § 55-154; 1956, c. 642; 1964, c. 377; 1968, c. 319; 1970, c. 350; 1972, c. 306; 1973, c. 123; 1974, c. 238; 1977, c. 309; 1980, c. 310; 1981, c. 518; 1984, c. 452; 2019, c. 712, § 45.1-161.311:9; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-401. (Effective October 1, 2021) Actions to extinguish certain claims.

A. The owner or owners of land subject to a claim or right pursuant to § 45.2-400 separately or jointly may bring an action requesting the extinguishment of such claim or right. The person by whom such claim by such writing was derived or reserved, or his successors in title, shall be made a defendant by name so far as known or as defendants unknown if such successors in title are unknown. The venue for such action shall be as specified in subdivision 3 of § 8.01-261.

B. The court shall allow a period of not less than six months from the time the cause is docketed and set for hearing to elapse. During such time, the defendant may explore and discover any commercial coal, mineral, ore, oil, or subsurface substance.

C. In the absence of satisfactory evidence to the contrary, it shall be presumed that no commercial coal, mineral, ore, oil, or subsurface substance exists in or on the land, and the court shall enter an order declaring the claim or right to be a cloud on the title and releasing the land therefrom and extinguishing such claim or right. However, if the defendant or defendants prove that a commercial coal, mineral, ore, oil, or subsurface substance exists in or on the land, the court shall require such coal, mineral, ore, oil, or subsurface substance to be charged with taxes according to law.

1924, p. 720; 1930, p. 721; Michie Code 1942, § 6239a; 1944, p. 49; Code 1950, § 55-155; 1977, c. 624; 2019, c. 712, § 45.1-161.311:11; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-402. (Effective October 1, 2021) Presumption regarding estate of owner of mineral rights use of underground space.

A. Except as otherwise provided in the deed by which the owner of minerals derives title, the owner of minerals shall be presumed to be the owner of the shell, container chamber, passage, or space opened underground for the removal of the minerals, with full right to haul and transport minerals from other lands and to pass people, materials, equipment, water, and air through such space. No injunction shall lie to prohibit the use of any such shell, container chamber, passage, or space opened underground by the owner of minerals for any such purpose. The provisions of this subsection shall not affect any contractual obligation or agreement entered into prior to July 1, 1981.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, with respect to the coal mineral estate, unless expressly excepted by the instrument creating the mineral ownership or lease interest, the owner or, if leased, the lessee of the coal mineral estate or its successor, assign, sublessee, or affiliate retains the right to any coal remaining in place after the removal of surrounding coal, as well as the right to use the shell, container chamber, passage, space, or void opened underground that was created by the removal of the coal.

1. Any such shell, container chamber, passage, space, or void opened underground that is within the boundaries of a mine permit issued under this title may be used consistent with state and federal regulations for any activity related to removal of coal from any lands for which a permit to mine coal has been approved, and no injunction shall lie to prohibit such use.

2. Any such shell, container chamber, passage, space, or void opened underground that is located in a sealed mine for which a mining permit no longer exists may be used consistent with state and federal regulations for any activity related to removal of coal from any lands for which a permit to mine coal has been approved only with the consent of the owner of such shell, container chamber, passage, space, or void. Such consent shall not be unreasonably withheld if the owner has been offered reasonable compensation for such use. In determining whether an offer of compensation is reasonable, a court shall be guided by the compensation set forth in other leases for the use of mine voids as is customary in the area.

C. No provision of subdivision B 1 or 2 shall (i) affect any provision contained in any contract in effect as of July 1, 2012, expressly prohibiting the use of any shell, container chamber, passage, space, or void opened underground that was created by the removal of the coal; (ii) alter any contract entered into prior to July 1, 2012, that provides for the payment of compensation from the lessee to the lessor expressly for the use of any shell, container chamber, passage, space, or void opened underground that was created by the removal of the coal; or (iii) have any bearing on or application to any determination of ownership rights in natural gas or coalbed methane.

1981, c. 291, § 55-154.2; 2012, c. 695; 2019, c. 712, § 45.1-161.311:10; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.