§ 880-X-8J-.05. Mountaintop Removal Mining
(1) This Rule applies to any person who conducts or intends to conduct surface mining activities by mountaintop removal mining.
(2) Mountaintop removal mining means surface mining activities, where the mining operation removes an entire coal seam or seams running through the upper fraction of a mountain, ridge, or hill, except as provided for in Rule 880-X-10H-.03(l)(f), by removing substantially all of the overburden off the bench and creating a level plateau or a gently rolling contour, with no highwalls remaining, and capable of supporting postmining land uses in accordance with the requirements of this Rule.
(3) A permit for mountaintop removal mining may be issued, without regard to the requirements of Rules 880-X-10C-.52 - 880-X-10C-.56 to restore the lands disturbed by such mining to their approximate original contour, if the State Regulatory Authority first finds, in writing, on the basis of a complete application, that the following requirements are met:
(a) The proposed postmining land use of the lands to be affected will be an industrial, commercial, agricultural, forestry, residential, or public facility (including recreational facilities) use and, if --
1. After consultation with the appropriate land use planning agencies, the proposed land use is deemed by the State Regulatory Authority to constitute an equal or better economic or public use of the affected land compared with the pre-mining use;
2. The applicant demonstrates compliance with the requirements for acceptable alternative postmining land uses of Rule 880-X-10C-.66;
3. The proposed use would be compatible with adjacent land uses and existing State and local land use plans and programs; and
4. The State Regulatory Authority has provided, in writing, an opportunity of not more than 60 days to review and comment on such proposed use to the governing body of general purpose government in whose jurisdiction the land is located and any State or Federal agency which the State Regulatory Authority, in its discretion, determines to have an interest in the proposed use.
(b) The applicant has demonstrated that, in place of restoration of the land to be affected to the approximate original contour under Rules 880-X-10C-.52 - 880-X-10C-.56, the operation will be conducted in compliance with the requirements of Rule 880-X-10H.
(c) The requirements of Rule 880-X-10H, are made a specific condition of the permit.
(d) All other requirements of the Act, this Rule and these regulations are met by the proposed operations.
(e) The permit is clearly identified as being for mountaintop removal mining.
(a) Any permits incorporating a variance issued under this Rule shall be reviewed by the State Regulatory Authority to evaluate the progress and development of mining activities to establish that the operator is proceeding in accordance with the terms of the variance.
1. Within the sixth month preceding the third year from the date of its issuance;
2. Before each permit renewal; and
3. Not later than the middle of each permit term.
(b) Any review required under Paragraph (4)(a) of this Rule need not be held if the permittee has demonstrated and the State Regulatory Authority finds, in writing, within three months before the scheduled review, that all operations under the permit are proceeding and shall continue to be conducted in accordance with the terms of the permit and requirements of the Act, this Rule, and these regulations.
(c) The terms and conditions of a permit for mountaintop removal mining may be modified at any time by the State Regulatory Authority, if it determines that more stringent measures are necessary to insure that the operation involved is conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Act and these regulations.
Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 9-16-71, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 90, 91, 92.
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