The chief of the division of mineral resources management, with the approval of the director of natural resources, may make grants of moneys from the unreclaimed lands fund created by section 1513.30 of the Revised Code for the payment by the state of up to seventy-five per cent of the reasonable and necessary reclamation expenses incurred by the owner of any unreclaimed land affected by mining before April 10, 1972, or pursuant to a license issued before April 10, 1972, that causes or may cause pollution of the waters of the state or damage to adjacent property, is not likely to be mined in the foreseeable future, and lies within the boundaries of a project area approved by the chief under section 1513.30 of the Revised Code.
The owner shall submit application for a grant on forms furnished by the division, together with detailed plans and topographic maps indicating the reclamation improvements to be made, an itemized estimate of the project's cost, a description of the project's benefits, and such other information as the chief prescribes. The plan of reclamation may be prepared in consultation with a local soil and water conservation district.
The chief may award the applicant a grant only after finding that the proposed reclamation work will establish vegetative cover and substantially reduce or eliminate erosion, sedimentation, landslides, pollution, accumulation or discharge of acid water, flooding, and damage to adjacent property.
For the purpose of establishing priorities for awarding grants under this section and section 1513.31 of the Revised Code, the chief shall consider each project's feasibility, cost, and public benefits of reclaiming the particular land, its potential for being mined, and the availability of federal or other financial assistance for reclamation.
The chief shall determine the amount of a grant under this section based upon the chiefs determination of what constitutes reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred for establishing vegetative cover, substantially reducing or eliminating erosion, sedimentation, landslides, pollution, accumulation or discharge of acid water, flooding, or damage to adjacent property, and preparing the plan of reclamation. The owner may elect to have other improvements made concurrently, but in no event shall any part of the grant be made for such other improvements, and in no event shall the amount of the grant exceed seventy-five per cent of the total amount, determined by the chief, of what constitutes reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred for the reclamation measures listed in this section.
The chief shall enter into a contract for funding with each applicant awarded a grant to ensure that the moneys granted are used for the purposes of this section and that the reclamation work is properly done. The final payment may not be made until the chief inspects and approves the completed reclamation work.
Each such contract shall contain provisions for the reimbursement of a portion of the costs of the reclamation that is commensurate with the increase in the fair market value of the property attributable to the reclamation work thereon, as determined by appraisals made before and after reclamation in the manner stated in the agreement, unless such determination discloses an increase in value that is insubstantial in comparison to the benefits to the public from the abatement of pollution or prevention of damage to adjacent property, considering the applicant's share of the reclamation cost. For reimbursement of such portion, the contract may include provisions for:
(A) Public use for soil, water, forest, or wildlife conservation or public recreation purposes;
(B) Payment to the state of the share of the income from the crops or timber produced on the land that is stated in the agreement;
(C) Imposition of a lien in the amount of the increase in fair market value payable upon transfer or conveyance of the property to a new owner;
(D) Payment to the state in cash in the amount of the increase in fair market value, payable upon completion of the reclamation.
All such reimbursements and payments shall be credited to the unreclaimed lands fund.
Not more than forty per cent of the money credited to the fund during the preceding calendar year may be expended during a calendar year for grants under this section.
The chief shall require every landowner performing reclamation work pursuant to this section to pay workers at the greater of their regular rate of pay, as established by contract, agreement, or prior custom or practice, or the average wage rate in this state for the same or similar work performed in the same or similar locality by private companies doing their own reclamation work.
Amended by 131st General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 471, §1, eff. 12/19/2016.
Effective Date: 06-14-2000 .