OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT
Library of COALEX Research Reports
COALEX Research Reports are the products of research and analysis conducted on specific issues relating to the regulation of Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. The research is conducted in response to requests for information from State Regulatory Authorities, under a cooperative agreement between the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC).
COALEX refers to the Library of Surface Mining Materials maintained by OSM in LEXIS-NEXIS and is a major source for the research.
Each Report includes a list of resources which were sent as attachments to the individual who requested the research. To obtain a copy of the attachments or to obtain any additional information, contact Joyce Zweben Scall by phone at 202-686-9138 or by email at JZScall@aol.com.
COALEX STATE INQUIRY REPORT - 190
Stephen C. Keen, Director
Mines and Minerals
Division of Energy
1615 Washington Street, East
Charleston, West Virginia 25311
TOPIC: VARIANCE FROM AOC FOR PARTIAL MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL
INQUIRY: An operator received a variance from AOC for mountaintop removal. After mining halfway through the seam, the operator switched to contour mining. Is the operator entitled to keep the variance now that the method of mining has changed and the entire seam will not be taken? Please locate legislative history material which discusses this issue.
SEARCH RESULTS: Research was conducted using the COALEX Library, other materials available in LEXIS and existing COALEX Reports. One Interior Administrative Law Judge decision was identified which addressed the question of a change in mining method by an operator conducting mountaintop removal; however, the issue of keeping or losing a variance did not arise in the case.
In addition to the ALJ decision mention above, several COALEX Reports and Federal Register notices are attached. These materials provide general background on the issues of AOC and variances as well as some specific information on mountaintop removal.
BILLY P. EVANS v OSM, Docket No. NX 89-8-R (1990).
Evans was issued a violation for failing to mine in accordance with the approved mining and reclamation plan: cross ridge mountaintop removal was planned; Evans used the contour method. The violation required Evans to submit a permit revision changing to a contour type mine.
The justification used for the revision was the fact that Evans had encountered a fault in the coal seam that required an adjustment in the mining process. The revision was promptly allowed.
COALEX STATE INQUIRY REPORT - 56, "Approximate original contour" (September, 1985).
This Report identifies the Federal court and Interior Office of Hearing and Appeal decisions which define "approximate original contour". Includes Report No. 16, described below.
COALEX STATE INQUIRY REPORT - 16, "Approximate original contour" (September, 1984).
The Report provides the legislative history of the phrase "approximate original contour" and includes Report No. 1 on the elimination of highwalls, a closely related topic.
IMCC SIGNIFICANT ISSUE REPORT NO. 1, "Elimination of Highwalls".
52 FR 9640 (MARCH 25, 1987). Proposed rule. Part 785: Requirements for permits for special categories of mining -- Mountaintop removal mining.
The proposed rule is included for background.
52 FR 39182 (OCTOBER 20, 1987). Final rule. Part 785: Requirements for permits for special categories of mining -- Mountaintop removal mining.
"The revised regulation corrects an inadvertent error made during previous rulemaking which omitted certain statutorily required provisions concerning mountaintop removal mining. The omitted provisions included a requirement that the applicant present specific plans for the proposed postmining land use and assurances that such use will meet certain conditions for a variance prior to a regulatory authority"s granting of a permit to mine."
The revision of 30 CFR 785.14 was undertaken to comply with the District Court for the District of Columbia's July 15, 1985 ruling.
53 FR 43970 (OCTOBER 31, 1988). Proposed rule. AOC variances.
The proposed rule " would revise regulations governing permits incorporating variances from AOC restoration requirements to limit their application to steep slope mining."
Research conducted by: Joyce Zweben Scall