SEC. 53-7-67. Release of bond; contents of application; inspection and evaluation of reclamation work; schedule for release; procedure on disapproval of release.
(1) Upon completion of the operation in the permit area * * *, the operator may file an application with the Permit Board for the release of the performance bond * * * or deposit. The application for performance bond release shall require a description of the results achieved in accordance with the operator's reclamation plan, which includes revegetation and end result plans, and any other information the Permit Board may require in accordance with * * * this chapter. The Permit Board shall file a copy of the performance bond release application for public inspection with the chancery clerk of the county * * * where the majority of the surface mining * * * operation is located and with the local soil and water conservation district. The Permit Board shall give notice of the pending bond release application by publication in the form as the commission by regulation may require after inspecting and evaluating the reclamation work as provided by subsection (2) of this section. * * *
(2) After receipt of the application for bond release, the department shall, and the local soil and water district commissioners may, within * * * thirty (30) days, conduct an inspection and evaluation of the reclamation work involved. The evaluation shall consider, among other things, the occurrence of pollution of surface and subsurface water * * *, the probability of continuance or future occurrence of * * * pollution, and the estimated cost of abating the pollution. Results of the evaluation and findings of the department or the soil and water commissioners, or both, shall be provided within thirty (30) days after the inspection to the operator and other interested parties making written request for the evaluation and findings. The evaluation and findings of the soil and water commissioners, if any shall be forwarded to the department before the end of the thirty (30) days.
(3) The Permit Board may release in whole or in part the performance bond * * * or deposit if it is satisfied that reclamation covered by the performance bond * * * or deposit or portion thereof has been accomplished as required by this chapter according to the following schedule:
(a) When the operator or surety completes required backfilling, regrading, and drainage control of a bonded area in accordance with the approved reclamation plan, the Permit Board may release * * * up to ninety percent (90%) of the performance bond * * * or deposit for the applicable permit area. The amount of the unreleased portion of the performance bond * * * or deposit shall not be less than the amount necessary to assure completion of the reclamation work by a third party in the event of default by the operator; and
(b) When the operator has successfully completed the remaining reclamation activities, but not before two (2) years beyond the date of the initial performance bond release, the Permit Board may release the remaining portion of the performance bond * * * or deposit. No performance bond * * * or deposit shall be fully released until all reclamation requirements of this chapter are fully met.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the Permit Board may release one hundred percent (100%) of the performance bond * * * or deposit to private contractors surface mining on areas provided to them by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. * * * The Permit Board may release the performance bond * * * or deposit only if the contractors have completed the reclamation work required in paragraph (a) of this subsection and the Corps of Engineers furnishes written assurance to the Permit Board that it accepts responsibility for restoration of the mined areas in accordance with all applicable reclamation standards of this chapter.
(4) If the Permit Board denies the application for release of the performance bond * * * or deposit or portion thereof, it shall notify the operator, in writing, stating the reasons for denial and recommending corrective actions necessary to secure the release.
(5) The Permit Board shall authorize the executive director under those conditions the Permit Board may prescribe to administratively release any performance bond or deposit provided by an operator for coverage under a general permit issued under Section 53-7-23. A decision of the executive director is a decision of the Permit Board and shall be subject to review and appeal as provided in Section 49-17-29.
SOURCES: Laws, 1977, ch. 476, Sec. 20; 1979, ch. 477, Sec. 53; 1980, ch. 401; Laws, 2002, ch. 492, § 31, HB 573, eff from and after July 1, 2002.
PREVIOUS VERSIONS: Pre-2002.
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