1514.05 Request for inspection at completion of phase of reclamation.

(A) At any time within the period allowed an operator by section 1514.02 of the Revised Code to reclaim an area of land affected by surface or in-stream mining, the operator may file a request, on a form provided by the chief of the division of mineral resources management, for inspection of the area of land upon which the reclamation, other than any required planting, is completed. The request shall include all of the following:

(1) The location of the area and number of acres;

(2) The permit number;

(3) A map showing the location of the acres reclaimed, prepared and certified in accordance with division (A)(11) or (12) of section 1514.02 of the Revised Code, as appropriate. In the case of an in-stream mining operation, the map also shall include, as applicable, the information required under division (A)(18) of section 1514.02 of the Revised Code.

The chief shall make an inspection and evaluation of the reclamation of the area of land for which the request was submitted within ninety days after receipt of the request or, if the operator fails to complete the reclamation or file the request as required, as soon as the chief learns of the default. Thereupon, if the chief approves the reclamation, other than any required planting, as meeting the requirements of this chapter, rules adopted thereunder, any orders issued during the mining or reclamation, and the specifications of the plan for mining and reclaiming, the chief shall issue an order to the operator and the operator's surety releasing them from liability for one-half of the total amount of their surety bond on deposit to ensure reclamation for the area upon which reclamation is completed. If the operator has deposited cash, an irrevocable letter of credit, or certificates of deposit in lieu of a surety bond to ensure reclamation, the chief shall issue an order to the operator releasing one-half of the amount so held and promptly shall transmit a certified copy of the order to the treasurer of state. Upon presentation of the order to the treasurer of state by the operator to whom it was issued, or by the operator's authorized agent, the treasurer of state shall deliver to the operator or the operator's authorized agent the cash, irrevocable letter of credit, or certificates of deposit designated in the order.

If the chief does not approve the reclamation, other than any required planting, the chief shall notify the operator by certified mail. The notice shall be an order stating the reasons for unacceptability, ordering further actions to be taken, and setting a time limit for compliance. If the operator does not comply with the order within the time limit specified, the chief may order an extension of time for compliance after determining that the operator's noncompliance is for good cause, resulting from developments partially or wholly beyond the operator's control. If the operator complies within the time limit or the extension of time granted for compliance, the chief shall order release of the performance bond in the same manner as in the case of approval of reclamation, other than any required planting, by the chief, and the treasurer of state shall proceed as in that case. If the operator does not comply within the time limit and the chief does not order an extension, or if the chief orders an extension of time and the operator does not comply within the extension of time granted for compliance, the chief shall issue another order declaring that the operator has failed to reclaim and, if the operator's permit has not already expired or been revoked, revoking the operator's permit. The chief shall thereupon proceed under division (C) of this section.

(B) At any time within the period allowed an operator by section 1514.02 of the Revised Code to reclaim an area affected by surface mining, the operator may file a request, on a form provided by the chief, for inspection of the area of land on which all reclamation, including the successful establishment of any required planting, is completed. The request shall include all of the following:

(1) The location of the area and number of acres;

(2) The permit number;

(3) The type and date of any required planting of vegetative cover and the degree of success of growth;

(4) A map showing the location of the acres reclaimed, prepared and certified in accordance with division (A)(11) or (12) of section 1514.02 of the Revised Code, as appropriate. In the case of an in-stream mining operation, the map also shall include the information required under division (A)(18) of section 1514.02 of the Revised Code.

The chief shall make an inspection and evaluation of the reclamation of the area of land for which the request was submitted within ninety days after receipt of the request or, if the operator fails to complete the reclamation or file the request as required, as soon as the chief learns of the default. Thereupon, if the chief finds that the reclamation meets the requirements of this chapter, rules adopted under it, any orders issued during the mining and reclamation, and the specifications of the plan for mining and reclaiming and decides to release any remaining performance bond on deposit to ensure reclamation of the area on which reclamation is completed, within ten days of completing the inspection and evaluation, the chief shall order release of the remaining performance bond in the same manner as in the case of approval of reclamation other than required planting, and the treasurer of state shall proceed as in that case.

If the chief does not approve the reclamation performed by the operator, the chief shall notify the operator by certified mail within ninety days of the filing of the application for inspection or of the date when the chief learns of the default. The notice shall be an order stating the reasons for unacceptability, ordering further actions to be taken, and setting a time limit for compliance. If the operator does not comply with the order within the time limit specified, the chief may order an extension of time for compliance after determining that the operator's noncompliance is for good cause, resulting from developments partially or wholly beyond the operator's control. If the operator complies within the time limit or the extension of time granted for compliance, the chief shall order release of the remaining performance bond in the same manner as in the case of approval of reclamation by the chief, and the treasurer of state shall proceed as in that case. If the operator does not comply within the time limit and the chief does not order an extension, or if the chief orders an extension of time and the operator does not comply within the extension of time granted for compliance, the chief shall issue another order declaring that the operator has failed to reclaim and, if the operator's permit has not already expired or been revoked, revoking the operator's permit. The chief then shall proceed under division (C) of this section.

(C) Upon issuing an order under division (A) or (B) of this section declaring that the operator has failed to reclaim, the chief shall make a finding as to the number and location of the acres of land that the operator has failed to reclaim in the manner required by this chapter. The chief shall order the release of the performance bond in the amount of five hundred dollars per acre for those acres that the chief finds to have been reclaimed in the manner required by this chapter. The release shall be ordered in the same manner as in the case of other approval of reclamation by the chief, and the treasurer of state shall proceed as in that case. If the operator has on deposit cash, an irrevocable letter of credit, or certificates of deposit to ensure reclamation of the area of the land affected, the chief at the same time shall issue an order declaring that the remaining cash, irrevocable letter of credit, or certificates of deposit are the property of the state and are available for use by the chief in performing reclamation of the area and shall proceed in accordance with section 1514.06 of the Revised Code.

If the operator has on deposit a surety bond to ensure reclamation of the area of land affected, the chief shall notify the surety in writing of the operator's default and shall request the surety to perform the surety's obligation and that of the operator. The surety, within ten days after receipt of the notice, shall notify the chief as to whether it intends to perform those obligations.

If the surety chooses to perform, it shall arrange for work to begin within thirty days of the day on which it notifies the chief of its decision. If the surety completes the work as required by this chapter, the chief shall issue an order to the surety releasing the surety from liability under the bond in the same manner as if the surety were an operator proceeding under this section. If, after the surety begins the work, the chief determines that the surety is not carrying the work forward with reasonable progress, or that it is improperly performing the work, or that it has abandoned the work or otherwise failed to perform its obligation and that of the operator, the chief shall issue an order terminating the right of the surety to perform the work and demanding payment of the amount due as required by this chapter.

If the surety chooses not to perform and so notifies the chief, does not respond to the chief's notice within ten days of receipt thereof, or fails to begin work within thirty days of the day it timely notifies the chief of its decision to perform its obligation and that of the operator, the chief shall issue an order terminating the right of the surety to perform the work and demanding payment of the amount due, as required by this chapter.

Upon receipt of an order of the chief demanding payment of the amount due, the surety immediately shall deposit with the chief cash in the full amount due under the order for deposit with the treasurer of state. If the surety fails to make an immediate deposit, the chief shall certify it to the attorney general for collection. When the chief has issued an order terminating the right of the surety and has the cash on deposit, the cash is the property of the state and is available for use by the chief, who shall proceed in accordance with section 1514.06 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.125, SB 315, §101.01, eff. 9/10/2012.

Effective Date: 03-15-2002; 04-06-2007