File No. 33669

This rule was published in the June 15, 2010, issue (Vol. 2010, No. 12) of the Utah State Bulletin.


Natural Resources, Oil, Gas and Mining; Coal

Section R645-100-200

Definitions

Notice of Proposed Rule

(Amendment)

DAR File No.: 33669
Filed: 05/26/2010 12:57:28 PM

RULE ANALYSIS

Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

This rule provides definitions of terms used in the Title R645 rules of the Coal Regulatory Program. The term "valid existing rights" is being amended at the request of the Office of Surface Mining to be as effective as federal regulation, in order to retain state primacy.

Summary of the rule or change:

This rule amendment includes a change to the term "valid existing rights" in the Coal Regulatory Program rules, in accordance with federal regulation.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Section 40-10-6

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

This amendment changes the definition of valid existing rights, which does not have a cost or savings to the state budget.

local governments:

No local government costs or savings are anticipated. Local government is not impacted by this rule.

small businesses:

There are not anticipated costs or savings to small businesses because coal mining in Utah normally is not conducted by a small business.

persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:

This amendment only changes the definition of valid existing rights, which does not have an anticipated cost or savings to persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local government entities.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

Coal mine operators within Utah are regulated via the Title R645 rules. No compliance costs are expected from this rule amendment because the amendment only provides for one definition change.

Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:

No measurable fiscal impact upon businesses is expected from this rule change.

Michael Styler, Executive Director

The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:

Natural Resources
Oil, Gas and Mining; Coal
1594 W NORTH TEMPLE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84116-3154

Direct questions regarding this rule to:

  • Steve Schneider at the above address, by phone at 801-538-5328, by FAX at 801-359-3940, or by Internet E-mail at steveschneider@utah.gov

Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:

07/15/2010

Interested persons may attend a public hearing regarding this rule:

  • 06/23/2010 09:00 AM, DNR, 1594 W North Temple, #1040, Salt Lake City, UT

This rule may become effective on:

07/28/2010

Authorized by:

John Baza, Director

RULE TEXT

R645. Natural Resources; Oil, Gas and Mining; Coal.

R645-100. Administrative: Introduction.

R645-100-200. Definitions.

As used in the R645 Rules, the following terms have the specified meanings:

 

. . . . . . .

 

"UNDERGROUND COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION ACTIVITIES" means coal mining and reclamation operations incident to the extraction of coal by underground methods including a combination of (a) underground extraction of coal or in situ processing, construction use, maintenance, and reclamation of roads, above-ground repair areas, storage areas, processing areas, shipping areas, areas upon which are sited support facilities including hoist and ventilating ducts, areas utilized for the disposal and storage of waste, and areas on which materials incident to underground mining operations are placed; and (b) underground operations such as underground construction, operation, and reclamation of shafts, adits, underground support facilities, in situ processing, and underground mining, hauling, storage, and blasting.

"Underground Development Waste" means waste-rock mixtures of coal, shale, claystone, siltstone, sandstone, limestone, or related materials that are excavated, moved, and disposed of from underground workings in connection with UNDERGROUND COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION ACTIVITIES.

"Undeveloped Rangeland" means, for purposes of ALLUVIAL VALLEY FLOORS, lands where the use is not specifically controlled and managed.

"Unwarranted Failure to Comply" means the failure of the permittee to prevent the occurrence of any violation of the State Program or any permit condition due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care, or the failure to abate any violation of such permit of the Act due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care.

"Upland Areas" means, with respect to ALLUVIAL VALLEY FLOORS, those geomorphic features located outside the floodplain and terrace complex such as isolated higher terraces, alluvial fans, pediment surfaces, landslide deposits, and surfaces covered with residuum, mud flows, or debris flows, as well as highland areas underlain by bedrock and covered by residual weathered material or debris deposited by sheetwash, rillwash, or windblown material.

"Valid Existing Rights" means [(a) for haul roads" (i) a recorded right of way, recorded easement, or a permit for a coal haul road recorded as of August 3, 1977, or (ii) any other road in existence as of August 3, 1977; (b) a person possesses valid existing rights if the person proposing to conduct coal mining and reclamation operations can demonstrate that property rights to the coal had been acquired prior to August 3, 1977 and that the coal is both needed for, and immediately adjacent to, an ongoing coal mining and reclamation operation which existed on August 3, 1977. A determination that coal is "needed for" will be based upon a finding that the extension of mining is essential to make the coal mining and reclamation operation as a whole economically viable; (c) where an area comes under the protection of 40-10-24 of the Act after August 3, 1977, valid existing rights will be found if on the date the protection comes into existence, a validly authorized coal mining and reclamation operation exists on that area; and (d) interpretation of the terms of the document relied upon to establish the rights to which the standard of portions (a) and (c) of this definition applies will be based either upon applicable Utah statutory or case law concerning interpretation of documents conveying mineral rights or, where no applicable Utah law exists, upon the usage and custom at the time and place it came into existence.]a set of circumstances under which a person may, subject to regulatory authority approval, conduct coal mining and reclamation operations on lands where Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act and R645-103-224 would otherwise prohibit such operations. Possession of valid existing rights only confers an exception from the prohibitions of R645-103-224 and Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act. A person seeking to exercise valid existing rights must comply with all other pertinent requirements of the Federal Act and the State Program.

(a) Property rights demonstration. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this definition, a person claiming valid existing rights must demonstrate that a legally binding conveyance, lease, deed, contract, or other document vests that person, or a predecessor in interest, with the right to conduct the type of coal mining and reclamation operations intended. This right must exist at the time that the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act. Applicable Utah statutory or case law will govern interpretation of documents relied upon to establish property rights, unless Federal law provides otherwise. If no applicable Utah law exists, custom and generally accepted usage at the time and place that the documents came into existence will govern their interpretation.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this definition, a person claiming valid existing rights also must demonstrate compliance with one of the following standards:

(i) Good faith/all permits standard. All permits and other authorizations required to conduct coal mining and reclamation operations had been obtained, or a good faith effort to obtain all necessary permits and authorizations had been made, before the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act. At a minimum, an application must have been submitted for any permit required under R645-201, R645-301 or R645-302; or

(ii) Needed for and adjacent standard. The land is needed for and immediately adjacent to a coal mining and reclamation operation for which all permits and other authorizations required to conduct coal mining and reclamation operations had been obtained, or a good faith attempt to obtain all permits and authorizations had been made, before the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act. To meet this standard, a person must demonstrate that prohibiting expansion of the operation onto that land would unfairly impact the viability of the operation as originally planned before the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act. Except for operations in existence before August 3, 1977, or for which a good faith effort to obtain all necessary permits had been made before August 3, 1977, this standard does not apply to lands already under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act when the Division approved the permit for the original operation or when the good faith effort to obtain all necessary permits for the original operation was made. In evaluating whether a person meets this standard, the Division may consider factors such as:

(A) The extent to which coal supply contracts or other legal and business commitments that predate the time that the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act depends upon use of that land for coal mining and reclamation operations;

(B) The extent to which plans used to obtain financing for the operation before the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act rely upon use of that land for coal mining and reclamation operations;

(C) The extent to which investments in the operation before the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act rely upon use of that land for coal mining and reclamation operations;

(D) Whether the land lies within the area identified on the life-of-mine map submitted under R645-301-521.141 before the land came under the protection of R645-103-224.

(c) Roads. A person who claims valid existing rights to use or construct a road across the surface of lands protected by R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act must demonstrate that one or more of the following circumstances exist if the road is included within the definition of coal mining and reclamation operations:

(i) The road existed when the land upon which it is located came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act, and the person has a legal right to use the road for coal mining and reclamation operations;

(ii) A properly recorded right of way or easement for a road in that location existed when the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act, and, under the document creating the right of way or easement, and under subsequent conveyances, the person has a legal right to use or construct a road across the right of way or easement for coal mining and reclamation operations;

(iii) A valid permit for use or construction of a road in that location for coal mining and reclamation operations existed when the land came under the protection of R645-103-224 or Subsection 40-10-24(4) of the Act; or

(iv) Valid existing rights exist under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this definition.

"Valley Fill" means a fill structure consisting of any material, other than organic material, that is placed in a valley where side slopes of the existing valley, measured at the steepest point, are greater than 20 degrees, or where the average slope of the profile of the valley from the toe of the fill to the top of the fill is greater than ten degrees.

"Violation, Failure, or Refusal" means for the purposes of R645-402, (1) A violation of a condition of a permit issued under the State Program, or (2) A failure or refusal to comply with any order issued under UCA 40-10-22, or any order incorporated in a final decision issued under UCA 40-10-20(2) or R645-104-500.

"Water Supply", "State-appropriated Water", and "State-appropriated Water Supply" are all synonymous terms and mean, for the purposes of the R645 Rules, state appropriated water rights which are recognized by the Utah Constitution or Utah Code.

"Violation Notice" means any written notification from a governmental entity of a violation of law, whether by letter, memorandum, legal or administrative pleading, or other written communication.

"Water Table" means the upper surface of a zone of saturation where the body of ground water is not confined by an overlying impermeable zone.

"Willfully" means for the purposes of R645-402, that an individual acted (1) either intentionally, voluntarily, or consciously, and (2) with intentional disregard or plain indifference to legal requirements in authorizing, ordering, or carrying out a corporate permittee's action or omission that constituted a violation, failure, or refusal.

"Willful Violation" means an act or omission which violates the State Program or any permit condition, committed by a person who intends the result which actually occurs.

 

KEY: reclamation, coal mines

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [ March 26, 2008 ] 2010

Notice of Continuation: March 7, 2007

Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 40-10-1 et seq.

 


Additional Information

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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Steve Schneider at the above address, by phone at 801-538-5328, by FAX at 801-359-3940, or by Internet E-mail at steveschneider@utah.gov.