The council's legislation was sponsored in the House by Delegates Susan Hubbard, D-Cabell; Mary Pearl Compton, D-Monroe; Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia; Virginia Mahan, D-Summers; Don Perdue, D-Wayne; and Bobbie Hatfield, D-Kanawha.
An identical Senate bill was sponsored by Sen. Jon Blair Hunter, D-Monongalia.
Among the provisions, it would:
Eliminate "woodland" as a permissible post-mining land use on mountaintop removal sites. "Since it is false to say that one can only cut trees on flat land, the premise of the exception is bogus," the environmental council says.
Eliminate "fish and wildlife habitat and recreation lands" as a post-mining land use for mountaintop removal mining. The U.S. Office of Surface Mining has never approved a previous change in state law that allowed this land use, but state DEP officials continued to use it for years.
Require a demonstrated need for the post-mining land use proposed. The 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act requires coal operators to show the "market need" for proposed post-mining land uses, but that language was never included in state law or regulations.
Require that the bond on a mountaintop removal permit not be released until the promised economic development from post-mining land uses materializes.
"This is the most middle of the road of the post-mining land use bills," says a flier distributed by the environmental council. "If someone does not want to support this, then he or she isn't serious about reining in [mountaintop removal]."