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      RS 30:910     

  

§910.  Permit approval or denial

A.  Upon the basis of a complete mining application and reclamation plan or a revision or renewal thereof, as required by this Chapter, including public notification and an opportunity for a public hearing as required by Section 913, the commissioner shall grant, require modification of, or deny the application for a permit in a reasonable time set by the commissioner, and notify the applicant in writing.  The applicant for a permit, or revision of a permit, shall have the burden of establishing that his application is in compliance with all the requirements of this Chapter and the regulations issued pursuant to this Chapter.  Within ten days after the granting of a permit, the commissioner shall notify the police jury in the parishes, and the local governmental officials in any other local political subdivision, in which the area of land to be affected is located that a permit has been issued and shall describe the location of the land.

B.  The permit or revision application shall be approved when, but only when, the application affirmatively demonstrates and the commissioner finds in writing on the basis of the information set forth in the application or from information otherwise available which will be documented in the approval, and made available to the applicant, that

(1)  The permit application is accurate and complete and that all the requirements of this Chapter and the regulations issued pursuant to this Chapter have been complied with.

(2)  The applicant has demonstrated that reclamation as required by this Chapter and the regulations issued pursuant to this Chapter can be accomplished under the reclamation plan contained in the permit application.

(3)  The assessment of the probable cumulative impact of all anticipated mining in the area on the hydrologic balance specified in Section 907B has been made by the commissioner and the proposed operation thereof has been designed to prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area.

(4)  The area proposed to be mined is not included within an area designated unsuitable for surface coal mining pursuant to Section 922 of this Chapter or is not within an area under study for such designation in an administrative proceeding commenced pursuant to Section 922A(4)(c) or Section 922B, unless in such an area as to which an administrative proceeding has commenced pursuant to Section 922A(4)(c) of this Chapter, the operator making the permit application demonstrates that, prior to January 1, 1977, he has made substantial legal and financial commitments in relation to the operation for which he is applying for a permit.

(5)  In cases where the private mineral estate has been severed from the private surface estate, as to tracts within the permit area on which the applicant has the legal right to enter and commence surface mining operations, the applicant has submitted to the commissioner

(a)  The written consent of the surface owner to the extraction of coal by surface mining methods; or

(b)  A conveyance that expressly grants or reserves the right to extract the coal by surface mining methods; or

(c)  If the conveyance does not expressly grant the right to extract coal by surface mining methods, the surface-subsurface legal relationship shall be determined in accordance with State law: Provided, that nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to authorize the commissioner to adjudicate property rights disputes.

C.  The applicant shall file with his permit application a schedule listing any and all notices of violations of this Chapter and any applicable law, rule, or regulation of the state or the United States, or of any department or agency of the state or the United States, pertaining to air or water environmental protection incurred by the applicant in connection with any surface coal mining operation during the three-year period prior to the date of application.  The schedule shall also indicate the final resolution of any such notice of violation.  Where the schedule or other information available to the commissioner indicates that any surface coal mining operation owned or controlled by the applicant is currently in violation of this Chapter or such other laws referred to in this Subsection, the permit shall not be issued until the applicant submits proof that such violation has been corrected or is in the process of being corrected to the satisfaction of the regulatory authority, department, or agency which has jurisdiction over such violation, and no permit shall be issued to an applicant after a finding by the commissioner, after opportunity for hearing, that the applicant, or the operator specified in the application, controls or has controlled mining operations with a demonstrated pattern of willful violations of this Chapter or such other laws referred to in this Subsection of such nature and duration with such resulting irreparable damage to the environment as to indicate an intent not to comply with the provisions of this Chapter.

D.(1)  In addition to finding the application in compliance with Subsection B of this Section, if the area proposed to be mined contains prime farmland pursuant to Section 907B(16), the commissioner shall, after consultation with the secretary of the Department of Agriculture, pursuant to the regulations issued pursuant to this Chapter, grant a permit to mine on prime farmland if the commissioner finds in writing that the operator has the technological capability to restore such mined area, within a reasonable time, to equivalent or higher levels of yield as non-mined prime farmland in the surrounding area under equivalent levels of management and can meet the soil reconstruction standards in Section 915B(7).

E.  Approval of a permit or revision to a permit may not be denied for the reason that the applicant does not, at the time of filing of the application for a permit, have the legal right to enter and commence surface mining operations on all tracts of land within the permit area: Provided, that the applicant has demonstrated that the permit area can be mined in accordance with this Chapter and the regulations issued pursuant to this Chapter without mining of the tracts on which the applicant does not have the legal right to enter and commence surface mining operations: Provided further, that the permittee shall notify the commissioner when the permittee has obtained the legal right to enter and commence surface mining operations on such tracts.

F.  A permit may contain only such conditions as are expressly provided for in regulations issued pursuant to this Chapter.

Acts 1978, No. 406, §1.



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