In order to encourage advances in mining and reclamation practices or to allow post-mining land use for industrial, commercial, residential, agricultural, or public use, including recreational facilities, the chief of the division of mineral resources management, with approval by the secretary of the United States department of the interior, may authorize departures in individual cases on an experimental basis from the environmental performance standards set forth in this chapter. Such departures may be authorized if:
(A) The experimental practices are potentially more or at least as environmentally protective, during and after mining operations, as those required under this chapter and rules adopted thereunder;
(B) The mining operations approved for particular land use or other purposes are not larger or more numerous than necessary to determine the effectiveness and economic feasibility of the experimental practice;
(C) The experimental practices do not reduce the protection afforded public health and safety below that provided under this chapter and rules adopted thereunder.
Effective Date: 06-14-2000 .