Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 2. Coal and Uranium Mine Reclamation

Mining Permit Required

82-4-221. Mining permit required. (1) An operator may not engage in strip or underground mining without having first obtained from the department a permit designating the area of land affected by the operation. The designation must include all lands reasonably anticipated to be mined or otherwise affected during the applicable 5-year period. The permit must authorize the operator to engage in strip or underground mining upon the area of land described in the application and designated in the permit for a period of 5 years from the date of its issuance. The permit is renewable upon each 5-year anniversary after issuance upon application to the department at least 240 but not more than 300 days prior to the renewal date so long as the operator is in compliance with the requirements of this part, the rules adopted to implement this part, and the reclamation plan provided for in 82-4-231 and agrees to comply with all applicable laws and rules in effect at the time of renewal. The renewal is further subject to the denial provisions of 82-4-227, 82-4-234, and 82-4-251. On application for renewal, the burden is on the opponents of renewal to demonstrate that the permit should not be renewed. A permit must terminate if the permittee has not commenced strip- or underground-mining operations pursuant to the permit within 3 years of the issuance of the permit. However, the department may grant reasonable extensions of time upon a showing that the extensions are necessary by reason of litigation precluding the commencement or threatening substantial economic loss to the permittee or by reason of conditions beyond the control and without the fault or negligence of the permittee. With respect to coal to be mined for use in a synthetic fuel facility or specific major electric generating facility, the permittee is considered to have commenced strip- or underground-mining operations at the time the construction of the synthetic or generating facility is initiated.

(2) As a condition to the issuance of each permit issued under this part, an authorized representative of the department shall, without advance notice, have the right of entry to, upon, or through a strip- or underground-mining operation or any premises in which any records required to be maintained under this part are located and may, at reasonable times and without delay, have access to copy any records and inspect any monitoring equipment or method of operation required under this part. When an inspection results from information provided to the department by any person, the department shall notify that person when the inspection is proposed to be made and that person must be allowed to accompany the inspector during the inspection.

(3) During the term of the permit, the permittee may submit an application for a revision of the permit, together with a revised reclamation plan, to the department. The department may not approve the application unless it finds that reclamation in accordance with this part would be accomplished. Application for minor revision must be approved or disapproved within a reasonable time, depending on the scope and complexity, but within 60 days, which may be extended by an additional 30 days by mutual agreement of the department and the applicant. Applications for major revisions are subject to all the permit application requirements and procedures.

History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 325, L. 1973; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 221, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 19, Ch. 441, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 352, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 50-1039(1); amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 550, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 437, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 159, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 204, L. 2003.