HB 439: "An Act relating to minerals, including coal, to the statewide bonding pool for the reclamation activities imposed on mining operations, and to the statewide bonding pool's use for surface coal mining projects."

00HOUSE BILL NO. 439 01 "An Act relating to minerals, including coal, to the statewide bonding pool for 02 the reclamation activities imposed on mining operations, and to the statewide 03 bonding pool's use for surface coal mining projects." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. AS 27.19.040(b) is amended to read: 06  (b) The commissioner shall establish a statewide bonding pool for mining 07 operations as an alternative to individual performance bonds. A miner participating 08 in the bonding pool shall contribute an initial deposit not to exceed 15 percent of the 09 reclamation bond plus an additional nonrefundable annual fee not to exceed five 10 percent of the reclamation bond. The commissioner shall refund the 15 percent deposit 11 upon satisfactory completion of the approved reclamation plan. If requested by the 12 miner, the commissioner may apply the deposit to a new reclamation plan. In 13 addition to its use for mining operations under this chapter, the [THE] 14 commissioner shall [MAY] allow the bonding pool to be used to meet the

01 requirements of AS 27.21.160. 02 * Sec. 2. AS 27.21.080(a) is amended to read: 03  (a) A permit issued under this chapter includes the right of successive renewal 04 upon expiration, for areas within the boundaries of the permit area. An opponent of 05 renewal of a permit has the burden of proving that the permit should not be renewed. 06 Subject to (c) of this section, if a permittee applies for renewal of the permit, the 07 commissioner shall renew the permit after public notice is given in the manner 08 provided in AS 27.21.130 unless the commissioner finds, in writing, that 09  (1) the terms and conditions of the permit have not been satisfactorily 10 met, and the permittee has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commissioner 11 that the permittee is meeting and will continue to meet a schedule set by the 12 commissioner under AS 27.21.240(a) or (b) for correcting a permit violation; 13  (2) the surface coal mining and reclamation operation of the permittee 14 is not in compliance with the environmental protection standards of this chapter and 15 regulations adopted under it; 16  (3) the requested renewal substantially jeopardizes the permittee's 17 continuing responsibility on existing permit areas; 18  (4) the permittee has not either 19  (A) provided sufficient evidence that the performance bond 20 under AS 27.21.160 in effect for the operation will continue for the renewal 21 period requested in the application, and that any additional bond required by 22 the commissioner under AS 27.21.160 will be obtained; or 23  (B) when seeking to use the statewide bonding pool for 24 mining operations established under AS 27.19.040(b), complied with all 25 requirements of the bonding pool; or 26  (5) information required by the commissioner in accordance with this 27 chapter has not been provided by the permittee. 28 * Sec. 3. AS 27.21.140(d) is amended to read: 29  (d) If the application is approved, the permit shall be issued upon filing of the 30 performance bond required by AS 27.21.160 or satisfactory compliance with the 31 requirements of the statewide bonding pool for mining operations established

01 under AS 27.19.040(b). 02 * Sec. 4. AS 27.21.160(a) is amended to read: 03  (a) Except as provided in (c) and (g) of this section, after an application for 04 a permit has been approved and before the permit may be issued, the applicant must 05 file with the commissioner, on a form prescribed and furnished by the commissioner, 06 a performance bond payable to the State of Alaska and conditioned on faithful 07 performance of the requirements of this chapter and the permit. The bond must cover 08 the area of land within the permit area on which the applicant will initiate and conduct 09 surface coal mining and reclamation operations within the initial term of the permit. 10 As succeeding increments of surface coal mining and reclamation operations are 11 initiated and conducted within the permit area, the permittee shall provide an additional 12 bond or bonds to cover those increments in accordance with this section. The amount 13 of the bond required for an area within the permit area shall be determined by the 14 commissioner and shall reflect the probable difficulty of the reclamation considering 15 the topography, geology, hydrology, revegetation potential, and similar factors relating 16 to the area. The amount of the bond must be sufficient to assure the completion of the 17 reclamation plan by the commissioner in the event of forfeiture and, for the entire 18 permit area, may not be less than $10,000. 19 * Sec. 5. AS 27.21.160 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 20  (g) As an alternative to performance bonds, applicants conducting surface coal 21 mining and reclamation operations may use the bonding pool established by the 22 commissioner under AS 27.19.040(b) for reclamation activities to meet the 23 requirements imposed by this section. 24 * Sec. 6. AS 27.21 is amended by adding a new section to read: 25 ARTICLE 3A. ALASKA SURFACE COAL MINING ADVISORY COMMISSION. 26  Sec. 27.21.800. ALASKA SURFACE COAL MINING ADVISORY 27 COMMISSION ESTABLISHED. (a) The Alaska Surface Coal Mining Advisory 28 Commission is established in the Department of Natural Resources. 29  (b) The commission is composed of nine members. The commission shall be 30 composed of individuals who have experience in the various aspects of the surface coal 31 mining industry in the state and representatives of agencies involved in surface coal

01 mining enforcement and restoration activities. The governor shall appoint the members 02 of the commission. Each member serves at the pleasure of the governor. 03  (c) The commission shall make recommendations to the governor and to the 04 legislature on ways to amend this chapter to conform to amendments in applicable 05 federal law, changing conditions in the coal industry in the state, and changing 06 appropriate technologies. 07  (d) The commission shall 08  (1) report its recommendations each year to the governor during the 09 first 10 days of the regular session of the legislature; and 10  (2) notify the legislature that the report prepared and submitted under 11 (1) of this subsection is available. 12 * Sec. 7. AS 27.21.998(11) is amended to read: 13  (11) "permit area" means the area of land indicated on the approved 14 maps submitted by the operator with the application which must be covered by the 15 operator's bond as required by AS 27.21.160(a) - (f) or by the individual 16 performance and payment requirements for the operator who participates in the 17 statewide bonding pool for mining operations as authorized by AS 27.21.160(g), 18 [AS 27.21.160] and must be readily identifiable by appropriate markers on the site;