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Pennsylvania Code



Subchapter E. COAL EXPLORATION


Sec.


86.131.    Scope.
86.132.    Definitions.
86.133.    General requirements.
86.134.    Coal exploration performance and design standards.
86.135.    [Reserved].
86.136.    Coal exploration compliance duties.
86.137.    Public availability of information.

Cross References

   This subchapter cited in 25 Pa. Code §  86.11 (relating to general requirements for permits); 25 Pa. Code §  86.129 (relating to coal exploration on areas designated as unsuitable for surface mining operations); 25 Pa. Code §  86.143 (relating to requirement to file a bond); 25 Pa. Code §  88.133 (relating to postmining land use); 25 Pa. Code §  90.45 (relating to prime farmland); and 25 Pa. Code §  90.165 (relating to prime farmland: revegetation).

§ 86.131. Scope.

 This subchapter applies to persons who conduct or seek to conduct coal exploration outside of the permit area. Coal exploration which substantially disturbs the natural land surface shall comply with the minimum performance standards and design requirements of this subchapter. The Department may, if it deems necessary, require compliance with other applicable performance and design requirements of Chapters 87—90.

Source

   The provisions of this §  86.131 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382.

§ 86.132. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Coal exploration—The field gathering of surface or subsurface geologic, physical or chemical data by mapping, trenching, drilling, geophysical or other techniques necessary to determine the quality of overburden and coal of an area, or the gathering of environmental data, to establish the conditions of an area.

   Substantially disturb—For purposes of coal exploration, including, but not limited to, to have a significant impact upon land, air or water resources by activities such as blasting, mechanical excavation or altering coal or water exploratory holes or wells, construction of roads and other access routes, removal of topsoil or overburden and the placement of structures, excavated earth or other debris on the surface of land.

Source

   The provisions of this §  86.132 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended June 25, 1993, effective June 26, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 3075; amended May 8, 1998, effective May 9, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 2227. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (206677).

§ 86.133. General requirements.

 (a)  A person who intends to conduct coal exploration shall, prior to conducting the exploration, file with the Department one copy of a written notice of intention to explore for each exploration area at least 10 days prior to the exploration on forms provided by the Department.

 (b)  The notice shall include:

   (1)  The name, address and telephone number of the person seeking to explore.

   (2)  The name, address and telephone number of the representative who will be present at and responsible for conducting the exploration activities.

   (3)  A map, at a scale of 1:24,000, of the exploration area showing the extent of the exploration, location of drill holes and exploration trenches, existing and proposed roads, occupied dwellings, topographic features, bodies of water and pipelines.

   (4)  A statement of the period of intended exploration.

   (5)  A description of the practices proposed to be followed to protect the environment from adverse impacts as a result of the exploration activities.

 (c)  A person who conducts coal exploration which substantially disturbs the natural land surface shall comply with §  86.134 (relating to coal exploration performance and design standards).

 (d)  The Department will, except as otherwise provided in §  86.137(b) (relating to public availability of information), place the notices and the exploration permit documents, as required under subsection (f) for exploration on areas designated as unsuitable for mining, on public file and make them available for public inspection and copying during regular office hours at the established fee. For the purpose of this section, the exploration permit documents include the application and documents relating to the decision to approve or deny the application.

 (e)  A person who intends to conduct coal exploration in which coal will be removed shall, prior to conducting the exploration, obtain a permit under this chapter. Prior to removal of coal, the Department may waive the requirements for the permit to enable the testing and analysis of coal properties, if 250 tons (226 metric tons) or less are removed. The removal of more than 250 tons (226 metric tons) of coal during coal exploration requires a permit under this chapter.

 (f)  Coal exploration on lands where a petition to declare an area unsuitable for mining has been received by the Department or on lands designated unsuitable for mining shall be conducted only after a permit has been obtained from the Department. This permit requirement may not be waived. The Department may prescribe conditions and requirements necessary to preserve the values sought to be protected in the petition before approving coal exploration in these areas. The exploration activities shall be conducted in accordance with §  86.129 (relating to coal exploration) to insure that the exploration activity does not interfere with a value for which the area has been designated unsuitable for mining.

 (g)  A person who conducts coal exploration by means of boreholes or coreholes shall case, line, seal or otherwise manage the hole to prevent degradation of the quality of groundwater and surface water, minimize disturbance to the prevailing hydrologic balance and ensure the safety of people, livestock, fish and wildlife, and machinery in the permit and adjacent area, and meet the requirements of § §  89.54 and 89.83 (relating to preventing discharges from underground mines; and closing of underground mine openings).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  86.133 amended under the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. § §  1396.1—1396.19a); the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (52 P. S. § §  1406.1—1406.21); The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § §  691.1—691.1001); and section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  510-20).

Source

   The provisions of this §  86.133 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended June 25, 1993, effective June 26, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 3075; amended December 15, 1995, effective December 16, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 5821; amended May 8, 1998, effective May 9, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 2227; amended June 17, 2011, effective June 18, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 3084. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (304397) to (304398).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  86.129 (relating to coal exploration).

§ 86.134. Coal exploration performance and design standards.

 The following performance standards are applicable to coal exploration which substantially disturbs the land surface:

   (1)  Habitats of unique value for fish, wildlife and other related environmental values may not be disturbed during coal exploration.

   (2)  Roads used for coal exploration shall comply with the following:

     (i)   A new road in the exploration area shall comply with § §  87.160 and 87.166 (relating to haul roads and access roads; and haul roads and access roads: restoration).

     (ii)   Existing roads may be used for exploration in accordance with the following:

       (A)   Applicable Federal, State and local requirements shall be met.

       (B)   If the road is significantly altered for exploration, including, but not limited to, change of grade, widening or change of route, or if the use of the road for exploration contributes additional suspended solids to streamflow or runoff, paragraph (6) applies to the areas of the road which are altered or which result in the additional contributions.

       (C)   If the road is significantly altered for exploration activities or will remain as a permanent road after exploration activities are completed, theperson conducting exploration shall ensure that the requirements of § §  87.160 and 87.166, as appropriate, are met for the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of the road.

     (iii)   Promptly after exploration activities are completed, existing roads used during exploration shall be reclaimed to one or more of the following:

       (A)   A condition equal to or better than their preexploration condition.

       (B)   The condition required for permanent roads under § §  87.160 and 87.166, as appropriate.

   (3)  If excavations, artificial flat areas or embankments are created during exploration, these areas shall be returned to the approximate original contour promptly after the features are no longer needed for coal exploration.

   (4)  Topsoil shall be removed, stored and redistributed on disturbed areas as necessary to assure successful revegetation.

   (5)  All areas disturbed by coal exploration activities shall be revegetated in a manner that encourages prompt revegetation and recovery of a diverse, effective and permanent vegetative cover.

   (6)  With the exception of small and temporary diversions of overland flow of water around new roads, drill pads and support facilities, ephemeral, intermittent or perennial streams may not be diverted during coal exploration activities. Overland flow of water shall be diverted in a manner that:

     (i)   Prevents erosion.

     (ii)   Prevents additional contributions of suspended solids to streamflow or runoff outside the exploration area, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available.

     (iii)   Complies with other applicable State or Federal requirements.

   (7)  Each exploration hole, borehole, well or other underground opening created or encountered by exploration shall meet the requirements of § §  87.93, 89.54 and 89.83 (relating to casing and sealing of drilled holes; preventing discharges from underground mines; and closing of underground mine openings).

   (8)  Facilities and equipment shall be removed from the exploration area promptly when they are no longer needed for exploration, except for facilities and equipment that the Department determines may remain to do one of the following:

     (i)   Provide additional environmental quality data.

     (ii)   Reduce or control the onsite and offsite effects of the exploration activities.

     (iii)   Facilitate future surface mining and reclamation operations by the person conducting the exploration, under an approved permit.

   (9)  Coal exploration shall be conducted in a manner which minimizes disturbance of the prevailing hydrologic balance, and shall include sediment control measures, or sedimentation ponds which comply with Chapter 89, Subchapter A (relating to erosion and sedimentation control).

   (10)  Toxic- or acid-forming materials shall be handled and disposed of in accordance with § §  87.110 and 87.145 (relating to hydrologic balance: acid-forming and toxic-forming spoil; and backfilling and grading: covering coal and acid-forming and toxic-forming materials.)

   (11)  Coal exploration and related reclamation activities shall be conducted to avoid damage to, or destruction of, known historic resources.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  86.134 amended under the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act (52 P. S. § §  1396.1—1396.19a); the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (52 P. S. § §  1406.1—1406.21); The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. § §  691.1—691.1001); and section 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  510-20).

Source

   The provisions of this §  86.134 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended February 17, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 524, effective August 4, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 2860; amended June 15, 1990, 20 Pa.B. 3383, effective July 27, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 3316; amended June 25, 1993, effective June 26, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 3075; amended December 15, 1995, effective December 16, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 5821; amended May 8, 1998, effective May 9, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 2227. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (206679) to (206681).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  86.129 (relating to coal exploration on areas designated as unsuitable for surface mining operations); and 25 Pa. Code §  86.133 (relating to general requirements).

§ 86.135. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  86.135 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; reserved July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382.

§ 86.136. Coal exploration compliance duties.

 (a)  Coal exploration and reclamation activities shall be conducted in accordance with the coal exploration requirements of applicable State and Federal laws and rules and regulations, this chapter and conditions on approval for exploration and reclamation imposed by the Department.

 (b)  A person who conducts coal exploration in violation of this subchapter shall be subject to the applicable inspection and enforcement provisions of the Department, and Subchapters G and H (relating to civil penalties for coal mining activities; and enforcement and inspection).

Source

   The provisions of this §  86.136 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended June 25, 1993, effective June 26, 1993, 23 Pa.B. 3075. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (158750) to (158751).

§ 86.137. Public availability of information.

 (a)  Except as provided in subsection (b), information submitted to the Department under this subchapter shall be made available for public inspection and copying at the appropriate district or regional office of the Department.

 (b)  The Department will not make information available for public inspection if the person submitting the notification lists the reasons why it is confidential and requests, in writing, at the time of submission, that it not be public information. The Department will determine if the notice is confidential after reviewing the reasons submitted.

   (1)  Information shall be considered confidential by the Department only if it concerns trade secrets or contains privileged commercial or financial information which relates to the competitive rights of the person intending to conduct coal exploration.

   (2)  Information requested to be held as confidential under this section will not be made publicly available until after notice and opportunity to be heard is afforded both persons seeking and opposing disclosure of the information.

Source

   The provisions of this §  86.137 adopted December 19, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4789, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382; amended July 30, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2473, effective July 31, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 2382.

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  86.133 (relating to general requirements).



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