_________ Bill No. _______

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 82-4-336, MCA, is amended to read:

"82-4-336.   Reclamation plan and specific reclamation requirements. (1) The reclamation plan must provide that reclamation activities, particularly those relating to control of erosion, to the extent feasible, must be conducted simultaneously with the operation and in any case must be initiated promptly after completion or abandonment of the operation on those portions of the complex that will not be subject to further disturbance. In the absence of an order by the department providing a longer period, the plan must provide that reclamation activities must be completed not more than 2 years after completion or abandonment of the operation on that portion of the complex.

(2)  In the absence of emergency or suddenly threatened or existing catastrophe, an operator may not depart from an approved plan without previously obtaining from the department written approval for the proposed change.

(3)  Provision must be made to avoid accumulation of stagnant water in the mined area.

(4)  All final grading must be made with nonnoxious, nonflammable, noncombustible solids unless approval has been granted by the department for a supervised sanitary fill.

(5)  When mining has left an open pit exceeding 2 acres of surface area and the composition of the floor or walls of the pit are is likely to cause formation of acid, toxic, or otherwise pollutive solutions ("objectionable effluents") on exposure to moisture, the reclamation plan must include provisions that adequately provide for:

(a)  insulation of all faces from moisture or water contact by covering to a depth of 2 feet or more with material or fill not susceptible itself to generation of objectionable effluents;

(b)  processing of any objectionable effluents in the pit before they are allowed to flow or be pumped out of the pit to reduce toxic or other objectionable ratios to a level considered safe to humans and the environment by the department;

(c)  drainage of any objectionable effluents to settling or treatment basins when the objectionable effluents must be reduced to levels considered safe by the department before release from the settling basin; or

(d)  absorption or evaporation of objectionable effluents in the open pit itself; and

(e)  prevention of entrance into the open pit by persons or livestock lawfully upon adjacent lands by fencing, warning signs, and other devices that may reasonably be required by the department.

(6)  Provisions for vegetative cover must be required in the reclamation plan if appropriate to the future use of the land as specified in the reclamation plan. The reestablished vegetative cover must meet county standards for noxious weed control.

(7)  The reclamation plan must provide for the reclamation of all disturbed land. Proposed reclamation must provide for the reclamation of disturbed land to comparable utility and stability as that of adjacent areas, except for open pits and rock faces that may not be feasible to reclaim in the same fashion as other disturbed lands. In the case of open pits and rock faces, the reclamation plan must provide for reclamation to a condition:

(a)  of stability structurally competent to withstand geologic and climatic conditions without significant failure that would be a threat to public safety and the environment;

(b)  that affords utility to humans and the surrounding natural system to the extent feasible; and

(c)  that blends with the appearance of the surrounding area to the extent feasible.

(8)  The reclamation plan must provide sufficient measures to ensure public safety and to prevent the pollution of air or water and the degradation of adjacent lands.

(9)  A reclamation plan must be approved by the department if it adequately provides for the accomplishment of the activities specified in this section.

(10) The reclamation plan must provide for permanent landscaping and contouring to minimize the amount of precipitation that infiltrates into disturbed areas, including but not limited to tailings impoundments and waste rock dumps. The plan must also provide measures to prevent objectionable postmining ground water discharges."