Section 880-X-8C-.05 - Exploration: General Requirements For Removal Of More Than 250 Tons and Disturbance Of More Than One-half Acre Or On Lands Designated Unsuitable For Surface Mining Operations (Alabama Administrative Code)

§ 880-X-8C-.05. Exploration: General Requirements For Removal Of More Than 250 Tons and Disturbance Of More Than One-half Acre Or On Lands Designated Unsuitable For Surface Mining Operations

Any person who intends to conduct coal exploration outside a permit area during which more than 250 tons of coal are to be removed and/or greater than one-half acre is to be disturbed, or which will take place on lands designated as unsuitable for surface mining under Chapter 880-X-7, shall prior to conducting the exploration, obtain a permit from the State Regulatory Authority, in accordance with the following; and shall be subject to the requirements prescribed under 880-X-8C-.08 and 880-X-8C-.09:

(1) Contents of permit application: Each application shall contain, at a minimum, the following information --

(a) The name, address, and telephone number of the applicant, and his/her representative who will be present at, and responsible for conducting, the exploration activities;

(b) An exploration and reclamation operations plan, including --

1. A narrative description of the proposed exploration area; any endangered or threatened species listed pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. Section 1531, et seq.); cultural or historic resources listed or known to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places; and known archaeological resources located within the proposed exploration area;

2. A narrative description of the methods to be used to conduct coal exploration and reclamation, including, but not limited to, the types and uses of equipment, drilling, blasting, road or other access route construction, and excavated earth and other debris disposal activities;

3. An estimated timetable for conducting and completing each phase of the exploration and reclamation;

4. The estimated amounts of coal to be removed and a description of the methods to be used to determine those amounts;

5. A description of the measures to be used to comply with the applicable requirements of Rule 880-X-10B.

(c) The name and address of the owner of record of the surface land and of the subsurface mineral estate of the area to be explored;

(d) A map or maps at a scale of 1:24,000 or larger, showing the areas of land to be disturbed by the proposed exploration and reclamation. The map shall specifically show existing roads, occupied dwellings, and pipelines; proposed location of trenches, roads, and other access routes and structures to be constructed; the location of proposed land excavations to be conducted or waste material disposal areas; water or coal exploratory holes and wells to be drilled or altered; underground openings; earth or debris disposal areas; existing bodies of surface water; topographic, and drainage features; and critical habitats of any endangered or threatened species listed pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. Section 1531, et seq.); and

(e) If the surface is owned by a person other than the applicant, a description of the basis upon which the applicant claims the right to enter that land for the purpose of conducting exploration and reclamation;

(f) A justification of the need to remove more than 250 tons, and/or disturb more than one-half acre.

(g) For any lands listed in Rule 880-X-7B-.06 of these regulations, a demonstration that, to the extent technologically and economically feasible, the proposed exploration activities have been designed to minimize interference with the values for which those lands were designated as unsuitable for surface coal mining operations. The application must include documentation of consultation with the owner of the feature causing the land to come under the protection of Rule 880-X-7B-.06 of these regulations, and, when applicable, with the regulatory authority with primary jurisdiction over the feature with respect to the values that caused the land to come under the protection of Rule 880-X-7B-.06 of these regulations.

(2) Public notice and opportunity to comment. Public notice of the application and opportunity to comment shall be provided as follows:

(a) Within five days of the filing of a complete application with the Regulatory Authority, public notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county of the proposed exploration area.

(b) The public notice shall state the name and business address of the person seeking approval, the date of filing of the application, the address of the State Regulatory Authority at which written comments on the application may be submitted, the closing date of the comment period, and a description of the area of exploration.

(c) Any person with an interest which is or may be adversely affected shall have the right to file written comments on the application within thirty days of the publication of such notices.

Author: Randall C. Johnson

(May 20, 1982. Amended: September 18, 1990; effective: August 2, 1991. Amended: Filed August 23, 2001; effective September 27, 2001.)

On February 5, 2002, the Office of Surface Mining approved this rulemaking adopted by the commission on August 16, 2001. The effective date of this rule will be March 7, 2002.

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 87.

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