Designation of Funds in the Special Account for Land Reclamation Financial Guarantees
[45 Pa.B. 5559]
[Saturday, September 5, 2015]
The Land Reclamation Financial Guarantee (LRFG) program was authorized under section 19.2 of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) (52 P. S. § 1396.19b). The LRFG program is intended to assist surface mining operators in meeting their SMCRA bonding obligations. The special account established to financially assure bonding obligations under the LRFG program is funded by a transfer of the remaining Conversion Assistance money into a special account for the LRFG program. There is currently more than $13 million available to support the LRFG program.
Section 86.162b of 25 Pa. Code (relating to Land Reclamation Financial Guarantees) establishes a portion of the funds in the LRFG account be used to underwrite the LRFG and the balance of the funds will be held in reserve. The reserve will assure availability of funds to cover reclamation liabilities when there is a mine permit bond forfeiture and to underwrite sum-certain financial guarantees required under the Bioenergy Crop Bonding authorized by the act of July 5, 2012 (P. L. 918, No. 95).
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) has designated $10 million to underwrite LRFGs. Section 86.162b(f) of 25 Pa. Code establishes an operator limit of 30% of the amount of money designated in the special account to underwrite the LRFGs. The operator limit will be $3 million by this designation. The amount of the LRFG cannot exceed 50% of the required bond amount on a permit. Participants pay 1.5% of the amount of the LRFG each year. Section 86.162b(f)(3) of 25 Pa. Code establishes a program limit which is determined by dividing the designated amount in the LRFG account by the historical rate of mine operator bond forfeiture plus a margin of safety. The Department has determined a historical rate of bond forfeiture of 8% and a margin of safety of 25%. The current designation of $10 million to underwrite the LRFG sets the program limit at $100 million.
For background information and supporting documentation regarding the LRFGs, contact the Bureau of Mining Programs, Division of Monitoring and Compliance, P. O. Box 8461, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8461, (717) 787-5103.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 15-1623. Filed for public inspection September 4, 2015, 9:00 a.m.]
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