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      RS 30:921     

  

§921.  Enforcement

A.(1)  Whenever, on the basis of any information available to him, including receipt of information from any person, the commissioner has reason to believe that any person is in violation of any requirement of this Chapter or any permit condition required by this Chapter, the commissioner shall immediately order inspection of the surface coal mining operation at which the alleged violation is occurring unless the information available to the commissioner is a result of a previous inspection of such surface coal mining operation.  When the inspection results from information provided to the commissioner by any person, the commissioner shall notify such person when the inspection is proposed to be carried out and such person shall be allowed to accompany the inspector during the inspection.

(2)  When, on the basis of any inspection, the commissioner or his authorized representative determines that any condition or practices exist, or that any permittee is in violation of any requirement of this Chapter or any permit condition required by this Chapter, which condition, practice, or violation also creates an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, or is causing, or can reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources, the commissioner or his authorized representative shall immediately order a cessation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations or the portion thereof relevant to the condition, practice or violation.  Such cessation order shall remain in effect until the commissioner or his authorized representative determines that the condition, practice, or violation has been abated, or until modified, vacated, or terminated by the commissioner or his authorized representative pursuant to subparagraph A(5) of this Section.  Where the commissioner finds that the ordered cessation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations, or any portion thereof, will not completely abate the imminent danger to health or safety of the public or the significant imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources, the commissioner shall, in addition to the cessation order, impose affirmative obligations on the operator requiring him to take whatever steps the commissioner deems necessary to abate the imminent danger or the significant environmental harm.

(3)  When, on the basis of an inspection, the commissioner or his authorized representative determines that any permittee is in violation of any requirement of this Chapter or any permit condition required by this Chapter, but such violation does not create an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, or cannot be reasonably expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources, the commissioner or authorized representative shall issue a notice to the permittee or his agent fixing a reasonable time but not more than ninety days for the abatement of the violation and providing opportunity for public hearing.

If, upon expiration of the period of time as originally fixed or subsequently extended, for good cause shown and upon the written finding of the commissioner or his authorized representative, the commissioner or his authorized representative finds that the violation has not been abated, he shall immediately order a cessation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations or the portion thereof relevant to the violation.  Such cessation order shall remain in effect until the commissioner or his authorized representative determines that the violation has been abated, or until modified, vacated, or terminated by the commissioner or his authorized representative pursuant to Subparagraph A(5) of this Section.  In the order of cessation issued by the commissioner under this Subsection, the commissioner shall determine the steps necessary to abate the violation in the most expeditious manner possible, and shall include the necessary measures in the order.

(4)  When, on the basis of an inspection, the commissioner or his authorized representative determines that a pattern of violations of any requirements of this Chapter or any permit conditions required by this Chapter exists or has existed, and if the commissioner or his authorized representative also finds that such violations are caused by the unwarranted failure of the permittee to comply with any requirements of this Chapter or any permit conditions, or that such violations are willfully caused by the permittee, the commissioner or his authorized representative shall forthwith issue an order to the permittee to show cause as to why the permit should not be suspended or revoked and shall provide opportunity for a public hearing.  If a hearing is requested the commissioner shall inform all interested parties of the time and place of the hearing.  Upon the permittee's failure to show cause as to why the permit should not be suspended or revoked, the commissioner or his authorized representative shall forthwith suspend or revoke the permit.

(5)  Notices and orders issued pursuant to this Section shall set forth with reasonable specificity the nature of the violation and the remedial action required, the period of time established for abatement, and a reasonable description of the portion of the surface coal mining and reclamation operation to which the notice or order applies.  Each notice or order issued under this section shall be given promptly to the permittee or his agent by the commissioner or his authorized representative who issues such notice or order, and all such notices and orders shall be in writing and shall be signed by such authorized representatives.  Any notice or order issued pursuant to this section may be modified, vacated, or terminated by the commissioner or his authorized representative.  Provided, that any notice or order issued pursuant to this Section which requires cessation of mining by the operator shall expire within thirty days of actual notice to the operator unless a public hearing is held at the site or within such reasonable proximity to the site that any viewings of the site can be conducted during the course of public hearing.

B.  The commissioner may institute a civil action for relief, including a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or any other appropriate order in the district court for the parish in which the surface coal mining and reclamation operation is located or in which the permittee thereof has his principal office, whenever such permittee or his agent (a) violates or fails or refuses to comply with any order or decision issued by the commissioner under this Chapter, or (b) interferes with, hinders, or delays the commissioner or his authorized representatives in carrying out the provisions of this Chapter, or (c) refuses to admit such authorized representative to the mine, or (d) refuses to permit inspection of the mine by such authorized representative, or (e) refuses to furnish any information or report requested by the commissioner in furtherance of the provisions of this Chapter, or (f) refuses to permit access to, and copying of, such records as the commissioner determines necessary in carrying out the provisions of this Chapter.  Such court shall have jurisdiction to provide such relief as may be appropriate.  Temporary restraining orders may be issued in accordance with the Louisiana Rules of Civil Procedure.  Any relief granted by the court to enforce an order under clause (a) of this Section shall continue in effect until the completion or final termination of all proceedings for review of such order under this title, unless, prior thereto, the district court granting such relief sets it aside or modifies it.

C.  Any person who shall, except as permitted by law, willfully resist, prevent, impede, or interfere with the commissioner of conservation or any of his agents in the performance of duties required by this Chapter or regulations thereunder shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

Added by Acts 1978, No. 406, §1.  Amended by Acts 1979, No. 553, §4.



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