(A) If an operator or a partner or officer of the operator forfeits a performance bond, the division of mineral resources management shall have a priority lien in front of all other interested creditors against the assets of that operator for the amount that is needed to perform any reclamation that is required as a result of the operator's mining activities. The chief of the division of mineral resources management shall file a statement in the office of the county recorder of each county in which the mined land lies of the estimated costs to reclaim the land. Estimated costs shall include direct and indirect costs of the development, design, construction, management, and administration of the reclamation. The statement shall constitute a lien on the assets of the operator as of the date of the filing. The lien shall continue in force so long as any portion of the lien remains unpaid or until the chief issues a certificate of release of the lien. If the chief issues a certificate of release of the lien, the chief shall file a certificate of release in the office of each applicable county recorder.
(B) The chief promptly shall issue a certificate of release under any of the following circumstances:
(1) Upon the repayment in full of the money that is necessary to complete the reclamation;
(2) Upon the transfer of an existing permit that includes the areas of the surface mine for which reclamation was not completed from the operator that forfeited the performance bond to a new operator;
(3) Any other circumstance that the chief determines to be in the best interests of the state.
(C) The chief may modify the amount of a lien under this section. If the chief modifies a lien, the chief shall file a statement in the office of the county recorder of each applicable county of the new amount of the lien.
(D) The chief may authorize a closing agent to hold a certificate of release in escrow for a period not to exceed one hundred eighty days for the purpose of facilitating the transfer of unreclaimed mine land.
(E) All money from the collection of liens under this section shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the surface mining fund created in section 1514.06 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 04-06-2007