82-4-433. Bond. (1) Before a permit or permit amendment may be issued, a surety bond made payable to the state of Montana and conditioned upon the operator's full compliance with all requirements of this part, the rules adopted under this part, and the permit must be submitted to and approved by the department. The bond must be signed by the applicant as principal and by a good and sufficient corporate surety licensed to do business in the state of Montana. The bond amount must be determined by the department at the cost of reclamation of the affected land by the department. The applicant shall submit a bond that is no less than the amount determined by the department.
(2) (a) For opencut operations on federal land within the state, the department may accept a bond payable to the state of Montana and the federal agency administering the land. The bond must provide at least the same amount of financial guarantee as required by this part.
(b) The bond must provide that the department may forfeit the bond without the concurrence of the federal land management agency. The bond may provide that the federal land management agency may forfeit the bond without the concurrence of the department. Upon forfeiture by either agency, the bond must be payable to the department and may also be payable to the federal land management agency. If the bond is payable to the department and the federal land management agency, the department, before accepting the bond, shall enter into an agreement or memorandum of understanding with the federal land management agency providing for administration of the bond funds in a manner that will allow the department to provide for compliance with the requirements of this part, the rules adopted under this part, and the permit.
(3) In lieu of submitting a surety bond pursuant to subsection (1), the operator may submit cash, a certificate of deposit, a letter of credit in a form acceptable to the department, or a bond with property sureties in an amount equal to that of the required bond on conditions as prescribed in this part. In the discretion of the department, surety bond requirements may be fulfilled by the operator's posting a bond with land and improvements and facilities located on the land as security, in which event a surety may not be required but the department may require that the amount of the bond be adjusted to reimburse the department for foreclosure costs.
(4) The bond or other security must be increased or reduced as provided in this part.
(5) The bond or security remains in effect until the affected land has been reclaimed as provided under the permit and the department has approved the reclamation and released the bond or security. The bond or security may cover only actual affected land and must be increased or reduced to cover only unreclaimed acreages.
(6) If the license of a surety that has issued a bond filed with the department pursuant to this part is suspended or revoked, the operator, within 30 days after receiving notice of the suspension or revocation from the department, shall substitute a good and sufficient bond from another surety licensed to do business in the state or shall submit another type of security pursuant to subsection (3). Upon failure of the operator to make the bond substitution within the 30-day time period, the department shall suspend the permit of the operator to conduct opencut operations upon the land described in the permit until the substitution has been made. If the operator demonstrates in writing that the operator has been pursuing a replacement bond in good faith but additional time is necessary to complete the transaction, the department may grant up to an additional 60 days for the operator to submit a replacement bond before suspending the permit.
(7) Whenever an operator has completed all of the reclamation requirements under the provisions of this part as to any affected land, the operator shall notify the department of the completed requirements and may request bond release. If the department releases the operator from further obligation regarding any affected land, the bond must be reduced proportionately. Within 365 days of receiving the bond release request, the department shall notify the operator and the landowner in writing of the decision on the bond release application.
(8) If the operator fails to complete reclamation as required, the bond is forfeited. The surety is liable to the state for the bond amount. The operator is liable for the remainder of the reasonable costs to the state of reclaiming the operation.
(9) (a) If the bond is canceled by the surety, the operator shall provide a replacement bond to the department within 30 days after receiving notice of the cancellation. The department may extend this timeframe if the operator exercised due diligence in attempting to obtain a replacement bond within the time required.
(b) The permit is suspended by operation of law if the operator fails to submit a replacement bond within 30 days or within an extended period provided by the department pursuant to subsection (9)(a).
(c) A suspended permit is reinstated upon department approval of a replacement bond.