SCS/SB 642 - Currently, proposals to operate surface mines require that operators send a notice of intent to operate a surface mine to landowners with real property that is immediately contiguous or adjacent from the proposed mine plan area. This act removes this requirement and instead requires that notice be sent to all real property landowners within one-half mile of the border of the proposed mine plan area. This act also modifies the notice of intent. If any person notified requests a public meeting, the proposed surface mine operator shall bear the expenses.
Currently, the Land Reclamation Commission evaluates permit applications for proposed surface mining operations. This act instead gives this authority to the staff director of the Land Reclamation Commission. Upon completion of the notice of intent to operate a surface mine and any public meetings, the staff director shall make a decision within 6 weeks to issue or deny a permit application. In certain cases, the staff director may seek additional information from the applicant before making a decision to issue or deny a permit application. The staff director's decision shall be deemed to be the decision of the Director of the Department of Natural Resources and subject to appeal to the Administrative Hearing Commission. This act specifies criteria that the Administrative Hearing Commission may consider when reviewing the director's permit application decision. If the Land Reclamation Commission changes a finding of fact or conclusion of law, or modifies or vacates the decision recommended by the Administrative Hearing Commission, it shall issue its own decision subject to judicial review. For an appeal of the Commission's decision, the court of appeals district with jurisdiction in the county where the mine is to be located shall have original jurisdiction.
This act is identical to SCS/HCS/HB 1201 (2014) and is similar to a provision contained in HCS/SCS/SB 664 (2014).