Repealing part of a 1998 bill that doubled the size of streams that mining operators could bury under valley fill waste piles without compensating the state with money or in-kind projects.
Creates a DEP Office of Explosives and Blasting to regulate the use of blasting in large-scale and other surface mining. The office would review blasting design plans, write rules to govern blasting and set up requirements for pre-blast surveys of nearby property.
Make it easier for residents to be compensated for mining-damaged water supplies, by creating a presumption that such damage was caused by mining if the property owner had a pre-blast survey conducted.
Create within the DEP an Office of Community Impact. The office would be responsible for developing studies of possible community impacts of mining proposals, and administering a claims process for property damage and land purchases by mining companies.
Under the bill, the community impact office would also be charged with trying to prepare the southern coalfields for the day when mining ends.
"Where implemented, large-scale mountaintop removal mining tends to extract most, if not all of the recoverable coal reserves in an accelerated fashion," the bill states. "Long dependent primarily on mining, this area must plan for a future without coal."
Under the bill, the community impact office would propose infrastructure needs, recreational or educational facilities and economic development plans needed in communities where mountaintop removal occurs.
Coal companies would be required by the office to include such plans in mining permit proposals, according to the bill.
The bill states, "If the coal industry, and those benefitting from the extraction of mineral resources, are allowed the short-term privilege of mining our state's coal through mining practices which impact a large group of people - some in a very negative way - and through practices which will extract portions of the remaining reserves in an accelerated fashion, then with that privilege must come the responsibility of helping address the long-term needs of the people impacted by the activity."