§ 880-X-10H-.03. Mountaintop Removal: Performance Standards
(1) Surface coal mining activities may be conducted under a variance from the requirement of this Chapter for restoring affected areas to their approximate original contour, if --
(a) The variance is granted under a permit in accordance with Rule 880-X-8J-.05.
(b) The activities involve the mining of an entire coal seam running through the upper fraction of a mountain, ridge, or hill, by removing all of the overburden and creating a level plateau or gently rolling contour with no highwall remaining;
(c) An industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential, forestry or public facility (including recreational facilities) use is proposed and approved for the affected land;
(d) The alternative landuse requirements of Rule 880-X-10C-.66 are met;
(e) All applicable requirements of this Chapter other than the requirement to restore affected areas to their approximate original contour, are met;
(f) An outcrop barrier of sufficient width, consisting of the toe of the lowest coal seam, and its associated overburden, are retained to prevent slides and erosion, except that the State Regulatory Authority shall permit an exemption to the retention of the coal barrier requirement if the following conditions are satisfied.
1. The proposed mine site has been mined prior to May 3, 1978, and the toe of the lowest seam has been removed; or
2. A coal barrier adjacent to a head-of-hollow fill may be removed after the elevation of a head-of-hollow fill attains the elevation of the coal barrier if the head-of-hollow fill provides the stability otherwise ensured by the retention of a coal barrier;
(g) The final graded slopes on the mined area are less than lv:5h, so as to create a level plateau, or gently rolling configuration, and the outslopes of the plateau do not exceed lv:2h except where engineering data substantiates, and the State Regulatory Authority finds, in writing, and includes in the permit under Rule 880-X-8J-.05 that a minimum static safety factor of 1.5 will be attained;
(h) The resulting level or gently rolling contour is graded to drain inward from the outslope, except at specified points where it drains over the outslope in stable and protected channels. The drainage shall not be through or over a valley or head-of-hollow fill;
(i) Natural watercourses below the lowest coal seam mined are not damaged;
(j) All waste and acid-forming or toxic-forming materials, including the strata immediately below the coal seam, are covered with non-toxic spoil to prevent pollution and achieve the approved postmining land use; and
(k) Spoil is placed on the mountaintop bench as necessary to achieve the postmining land use approved under Paragraphs (1)(c) and (1)(d) of this Rule. All excess spoil material not retained on the mountaintop shall be placed in accordance with Rule 880-X-10C-.36.
Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 9-16-71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 80, 84, 85, 90, 92.
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