82-4-434. Plan of operation -- requirements. (1) The department shall immediately submit a plan of operation received in a permit or permit amendment application involving expansion of the permit area to the state historic preservation office for evaluation of possible archaeological or historical values in the area to be mined.
(2) The department shall accept a plan of operation if the department finds that the plan complies with the requirements of this part and the rules adopted pursuant to this part and that after the opencut operation is completed, the affected land will be reclaimed to a productive use. Once the plan of operation is accepted by the department, it becomes a part of the permit but is subject to annual review and amendment by the department. Any amendment by the department must comply with the provisions of 82-4-436(2).
(3) The department may not accept a plan of operation unless the plan provides:
(a) that the affected land will be reclaimed for one or more specified uses, including but not limited to forest, pasture, orchard, cropland, residence, recreation, industry, habitat for wildlife, including food, cover, or water, or other reasonable, practical, and achievable uses;
(b) that whenever the opencut operation results in a need to prevent acid drainage or sedimentation on or in adjoining lands or streams, catchments, ponds, or other reasonable devices to control water drainage and sediment will be constructed and maintained, provided the devices will not interfere with other landowners' rights or contribute to water pollution;
(c) that soil and other suitable overburden will be salvaged and replaced on affected land, when required by the postmining land use, after completion or termination of that particular phase of the opencut operation. The depth of soil and other suitable overburden to be placed on the reclaimed area must be specified in the plan.
(d) that grading will result in a postmining topography conducive to the designated postmining land use;
(e) that waste will be buried on site in a manner that protects water quality and is compatible with the postmining land use or will be disposed of off site in accordance with state laws and rules;
(f) that all access, haul, and other support roads will be located, constructed, and maintained in a manner that controls and minimizes erosion;
(g) that the opencut operation will be conducted to avoid range and wildland fires and spontaneous combustion and that open burning will be conducted in accordance with suitable practices for fire prevention and control. Approval of the plan for fire prevention and control under this part does not relieve the operator of the duty to comply with the air quality permitting and protection requirement of Title 75, chapter 2.
(h) that archaeological and historical values on affected lands will be given appropriate protection;
(i) that except for those postmining land uses that do not require vegetation, each surface area of the mined premises that will be disturbed will be revegetated when its use for the opencut operation is no longer required;
(j) that seeding and planting will be done in a manner to achieve a permanent vegetative cover that is suitable for the postmining land use and that retards erosion;
(k) that reclamation will be as concurrent with the opencut operation as feasible and will be completed within a specified length of time;
(l) that surface water and ground water will be given appropriate protection, consistent with state law, from deterioration of water quality and quantity that may arise as a result of the opencut operation;
(m) that noise and visual impacts on residential areas will be minimized to the degree practicable through berms, vegetation screens, and reasonable limits on hours of operation; and
(n) that any additional procedures, including monitoring, that are necessary, consistent with the purposes of this part, to prevent significant physical harm to the affected land or adjacent land, structures, improvements, or life forms will be implemented.
(4) If reclamation according to the plan of operation has not been completed in the time specified, the department, after 30 days' written notice, shall order the operator to cease mining and, if the operator does not cease, may issue an order to reclaim, a notice of violation, or an order of abatement or may institute an action to enjoin further operation and may sue for damages for breach of the conditions of the permit, for payment of the performance bond, or for both.
(5) (a) At any time during the term of the permit, the operator may for good reason submit to the department a new plan of operation or amendments to the existing plan, including extensions of time for reclamation.
(b) The department may approve the proposed new plan of operation or amendments to the existing plan if:
(i) the new plan of operation or amendments comply with the requirements of this section; and
(ii) (A) the operator has in good faith conducted opencut operations according to the existing plan of operation; or
(B) it is highly improbable that reclamation will be successful unless the existing plan of operation is replaced or amended.
(6) The permit, plan of operation, and amendments accepted by the department are a public record and are open to inspection.
History: En. Sec. 10, Ch. 326, L. 1973; amd. Sec. 23, Ch. 39, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 50-1510; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 280, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 58, Ch. 16, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 413, Ch. 418, L. 1995; amd. sec. 36, Ch. 308, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 507, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 325, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 13, Ch. 385, L. 2007.