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Section 1513.073 | Designating areas as unsuitable for coal mining operations.


(A)(1) Upon petition pursuant to division (B) of this section, the chief of the division of mineral resources management shall designate an area as unsuitable for all or certain types of coal mining operations if the chief determines that reclamation pursuant to the requirements of this chapter is not technologically and economically feasible.

(2) Upon petition pursuant to division (B) of this section, a surface area may be designated unsuitable for all or certain types of coal mining operations if the operations will:

(a) Be incompatible with existing state or local land use plans or programs;

(b) Affect fragile or historic lands in which the operations could result in significant damage to important historic, cultural, scientific, and esthetic values and natural systems;

(c) Affect renewable resource lands in which the operations could result in a substantial loss or reduction of long-range productivity of water supply or of food or fiber products, or aquifers and aquifer recharge areas;

(d) Affect natural hazard lands in which the operations could substantially endanger life and property, such lands to include areas subject to frequent flooding and areas of unstable geology.

(3) The chief shall develop the following:

(a) A data base and an inventory system that will permit proper evaluation of the capacity of different land areas of the state to support and permit reclamation of coal mining operations;

(b) A method or methods for implementing land use planning decisions concerning coal mining operations;

(c) Procedures for proper notice and opportunities for public participation, including a public meeting prior to making any designation or redesignation, pursuant to this section.

(4) Determinations of the unsuitablity of land for coal mining, as provided for in this section, shall be integrated as closely as possible with present and future land use planning and regulation processes at the federal, state, and local levels.

(5) The requirements of this section do not apply to lands on which coal mining operations were being conducted on August 3, 1977, or under a permit issued pursuant to this chapter, or where substantial legal and financial commitments in the operation were in existence prior to January 4, 1977.

(B) A person having an interest that is or may be adversely affected may petition the chief to have an area designated as unsuitable for coal mining operations or to have such a designation terminated. The petition shall contain allegations of facts with supporting evidence that would tend to establish the allegations. The chief shall hold a public meeting in the locality of the affected area, after appropriate notice and publication of the date, time, and location of the meeting within ninety days after receipt of the petition, provided that the chief may extend the time for holding the meeting an additional two hundred ten days when, in the chief's judgment, such additional time is needed for adequate review of the petition. Any person may appear at the meeting and present a statement or evidence regarding the petition. Within sixty days after the meeting, the chief shall issue and furnish to the petitioner and any other participant at the meeting a written decision regarding the petition, and the reasons therefor.

(C) Prior to designating any land areas as unsuitable for coal mining operations or terminating previous determinations of unsuitability, the chief shall prepare a detailed statement on:

(1) The potential coal resources of the area;

(2) The demand for coal resources;

(3) The impact of the designation on the environment, the economy, and the supply of coal.

(D) After August 3, 1977, and subject to valid existing rights, no coal mining operations except those that existed on August 3, 1977, shall be permitted:

(1) On any lands within the boundaries of units of the national park system, the national wildlife refuge systems, the national system of trails, the national wilderness preservation system, the wild and scenic rivers system, including study rivers designated under section 5(a) of the "Wild and Scenic Rivers Act," 82 Stat. 906 (1968), 16 U.S.C.A. 1274, and national recreation areas designated by act of congress;

(2) On any federal lands within the boundaries of any national forest unless approval is granted by the secretary of the United States department of the interior;

(3) That will adversely affect any publicly owned park or any places included in the national register of historic sites unless approved jointly by the chief and the federal, state, or local agency with jurisdiction over the park or the historic site;

(4) Within one hundred feet of the outside right-of-way line of any public road, measured horizontally, except where mine access roads or haulage roads join such right-of-way line and except that the chief may permit the roads to be relocated or the area affected to lie within one hundred feet of such road if after public notice and opportunity for public meeting in the locality of the affected area a written finding is made that the interests of the public and the landowners affected thereby will be protected;

(5) Within three hundred feet from any occupied dwelling, measured horizontally, unless waived by the owner thereof, nor within three hundred feet, measured horizontally, of any public building, school, church, community, or institutional building, or public park, nor within one hundred feet, measured horizontally, of a cemetery.

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