An entity who wishes to obtain a coal or uranium mine operation permit must complete an application furnished by the DEQ that includes a complete and detailed plan for the mining, reclamation, revegetation and rehabilitation of the land and water that may be affected by the proposed operations. The application must include information regarding climate, geology, hydrology, neighboring surface waters, vegetation, etc. For mine areas containing federal coal, an appropriate number of copies determined in consultation with DEQ of all applications, maps, reports and other information must be submitted. For mine areas not containing federal coal, one copy of all applications, maps, reports and other information must be submitted to the DEQ. Each applicant for a coal mining permit must also submit, as part of the application, a certificate issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in Montana certifying that the applicant has a public liability insurance policy for the strip or underground mining and reclamation operations for which the permit is sought. Activities within or adjacent to designated sage grouse habitats require consultation with the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program. The DEQ Sage Grouse Advisory is also an information resources. Prior to the issuance of a permit for a coal or uranium mining operation, the operator must file with the DEQ a bond payable to the state of Montana in a sum to be determined by the department of not less than $200 for each acre or fraction of an acre of the land affected, with a minimum bond of $10,000. If federal coal is involved, the bond must also be made payable to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement as Obligee.
The reclamation plan for a coal or uranium mine must set forth in detail the manner in which the applicant intends to comply with provisions regarding grading, backfilling, water control, topsoiling, reclamation and coal conservation, as well as measures to be taken to eliminate damages to landowners and members of the public, their real and personal property, public roads, streams and all other public property from soil erosion, subsidence, landslides, water pollution and hazards dangerous to life and property. In addition, the plan must list the steps to be taken to comply with applicable air and water quality laws and rules and any applicable health and safety standards.
Statute: 82-4-222, 223 and 231, MCA
Rules: ARM 17.24.302 and 313