SEC. 53-9-7. Definitions.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed in this section unless the context requires otherwise:
(a) "Abandoned mine lands" mean lands and waters affected by the mining or processing of coal before August 3, 1977, or affected by the mining or processing of noncoal minerals, including, but not limited to, sand, gravel, clay and soil, before August 3, 1977, and abandoned or left in either an unreclaimed or inadequately reclaimed condition, and for which there is no continuing reclamation responsibility required under state or federal law, and which continue in the present condition substantially to degrade the quality of the environment, to prevent or damage the beneficial use of land or water resources, or to endanger the health or safety of the public. Abandoned mine lands also means those lands and waters described by 30 USC Section 1232(g)(4), 30 USC Section 1233(b)(1), and 30 USC Section 1239.
(b) "Appeal" means an appeal to an appropriate court of the state taken from a final decision of the permit board or commission made after a formal hearing before that body.
(c) "Approximate original contour" means that surface configuration achieved by backfilling and grading of the mined area so that the reclaimed area, including any terracing or access roads, closely resembles the general surface configuration of the land before mining and blends into and complements the drainage pattern of the surrounding terrain, with all highwalls and spoil piles eliminated. Water impoundments may be allowed if the permit board determines that the impoundments are in compliance with Section 53-9-45(2)(g).
(d) "As recorded in the minutes of the permit board" means the date of the permit board meeting at which the action concerned is taken by the permit board.
(e) "Coal" means combustible carbonaceous rock, classified as anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, or lignite by the American Society of Testing and Materials.
(f) "Commission" means the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality.
(g) "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
(h) "Executive director" means the executive director of the department.
(i) "Exploration operations" means the disturbance of the surface or subsurface before surface coal mining and reclamation operations begin for the purpose of determining the location, quantity or quality of a coal deposit, and the gathering of environmental data to establish the conditions of the area before the beginning of surface coal mining and reclamation operations.
(j) "Federal act" means the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, as amended, which is codified as Section 1201 et seq. of Title 30 of the United States Code.
(k) "Formal hearing" means a hearing on the record, as recorded and transcribed by a court reporter, before the commission or permit board where all parties to the hearing are allowed to present witnesses, cross-examine witnesses and present evidence for inclusion into the record, as appropriate under rules promulgated by the commission or permit board.
(l) "Imminent danger to health and safety of the public" means the existence of any condition or practice, or any violation of a permit or other requirement of this chapter, in a surface coal mining and reclamation operation, which could reasonably be expected to cause substantial physical harm to persons outside the permit area before that condition, practice or violation can be abated. A reasonable expectation of death or serious injury before abatement exists if a rational person subjected to the same conditions or practices giving rise to the peril would not expose himself or herself to the danger during the time necessary for abatement.
(m) "Interested party" means any person claiming an interest relating to the surface coal mining operation and who is so situated that the person may be affected by that operation, or in the matter of regulations promulgated by the commission, any person who is so situated that the person may be affected by the action.
(n) "Lignite" means consolidated lignite coal having less than eight thousand three hundred (8,300) British thermal units per pound, moist and mineral matter free.
(o) "Operator" means any person engaged in coal mining who removes or intends to remove more than two hundred fifty (250) tons of coal from the earth by coal mining within twelve (12) consecutive calendar months in any one (1) location.
(p) "Permit" means a permit to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations issued under this chapter.
(q) "Permit area" means the area of land indicated on the approved map submitted by the operator with the permit application, which area of land shall be covered by the operator's performance bond.
(r) "Permit board" means the permit board created under Section 49-17-28.
(s) "Person" means an individual, partnership, association, society, joint venture, joint stock company, firm, company, corporation, cooperative or other business organization and any agency, unit or instrumentality of federal, state or local government, including any publicly owned utility or publicly owned corporation.
(t) "Prime farmland" means that farmland as defined by the United States Secretary of Agriculture on the basis of factors such as moisture availability, temperature regime, chemical balance, permeability, surface layer composition, susceptibility to flooding and erosion characteristics, and which historically have been used for intensive agricultural purposes, and as published in the federal register.
(u) "Public hearing", "informal hearing" or "public meeting" means a public forum organized by the commission, department or permit board for the purpose of providing information to the public regarding a surface coal mining and reclamation operation or regulations proposed by the commission and at which members of the public are allowed to make comments or ask questions or both of the commission, department or the permit board.
(v) "Reclamation plan" means a plan submitted by an applicant for a permit which sets forth a plan for reclamation of the proposed surface coal mining operations under this chapter.
(w) "Revision" means any change to the permit or reclamation plan that does not significantly change the effect of the mining operation on either those persons impacted by the permitted operations or on the environment, including, but not limited to, incidental boundary changes to the permit area or a departure from or change within the permit area, incidental changes in the mining method or incidental changes in the reclamation plan.
(x) "Secretary" means the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior.
(y) "State" means the State of Mississippi.
(z) "State geologist" means the head of the office of geology and energy resources of the department or a successor office.
(aa) "State reclamation program" means the Mississippi program for abandoned mine reclamation provided for in this chapter.
(bb) "Surface coal mining and reclamation operations" means surface coal mining operations and all activities necessary and incident to the reclamation of those operations.
(cc) "Surface coal mining operations" means:
(i) Activities conducted on the surface and immediate subsurface of lands in connection with a surface coal mine, surface operations and surface impacts incident to an underground coal mine, the products of which enter commerce or the operations of which directly or indirectly affect commerce. These activities include, but are not limited to:
(A) Excavation for the purpose of obtaining coal including common methods such as contour, strip, auger, mountaintop removal, boxcut, open pit and area mining;
(B) The use of explosives and blasting, in situ distillation or retorting, leaching or other chemical or physical processing; and
(C) The cleaning, concentrating or other processing or preparation, and the loading of coal for commerce at or near the mine site.
These activities do not include exploration operations subject to Section 53-9-41.
(ii) Areas upon which the activities occur or where the activities disturb the natural land surface. These areas shall also include, but are not limited to:
(A) Any adjacent land the use of which is incidental to any activities;
(B) All lands affected by the construction of new roads or the improvement or use of existing roads to gain access to the site of any activities and for haulage;
(C) All lands affected by excavations, workings, impoundments, dams, ventilation shafts, entryways, refuse banks, dumps, stockpiles, overburden piles, spoil banks, culm banks, tailings, holes or depressions, repair areas, storage areas, processing areas, shipping areas and other areas upon which are sited structures, facilities or other property or materials on the surface resulting from or incident to the activities.
(dd) "Unwarranted failure to comply" means the failure of a permittee to prevent or abate the occurrence of any violation of a permit, this chapter or any regulation promulgated under this chapter due to indifference, lack of diligence or lack of reasonable care.
SOURCE: Laws, 1979, ch. 477, § 4; Laws, 1997, ch. 306, § 6; Laws, 2001, ch. 426, § 2, SB 2969, eff from and after July 1, 2001.
PREVIOUS VERSIONS: Pre-2001
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