(a) The director shall administer the provisions of this article relating to surface-mining operations. The director has within his or her jurisdiction and supervision all lands and areas of the state, mined or susceptible of being mined, for the removal of coal and all other lands and areas of the state deforested, burned over, barren or otherwise denuded, unproductive and subject to soil erosion and waste. Included within such lands and areas are lands seared and denuded by chemical operations and processes, abandoned coal mining areas, swamplands, lands and areas subject to flowage easements and backwaters from river locks and dams, and river, stream, lake and pond shore areas subject to soil erosion and waste. The jurisdiction and supervision exercised by the director shall be consistent with other provisions of this chapter.
(b) The director has the authority to:
(1) Promulgate rules, in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, to implement the provisions of this article: Provided, That the director shall give notice by publication of the public hearing required in article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code: Provided, however, That any forms, handbooks or similar materials having the effect of a rule as defined in article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code were issued, developed or distributed by the director pursuant to or as a result of a rule are subject to the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code;
(2) Make investigations or inspections necessary to ensure complete compliance with the provisions of this code;
(3) Conduct hearings or appoint persons to conduct hearings under provisions of this article or rules adopted by the director; and for the purpose of any investigation or hearing hereunder, the director or his or her designated representative, may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence and require production of any books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, agreements, or other documents or records relevant or material to the inquiry;
(4) Enforce the provisions of this article as provided herein; and
(5) Appoint such advisory committees as may be of assistance to the director in the development of programs and policies: Provided, That such advisory committees shall, in each instance, include members representative of the general public.
(c) (1) After the director has adopted the rules required by this article, any person may petition the director to initiate a proceeding for the issuance, amendment or appeal of a rule under this article.
(2) The petition shall be filed with the director and shall set forth the facts which support the issuance, amendment or appeal of a rule under this article.
(3) The director may hold a public hearing or may conduct such investigation or proceeding as he or she considers appropriate in order to determine whether the petition should be granted or denied.
(4) Within ninety days after filing of a petition described in subdivision (1) of this subsection, the director shall either grant or deny the petition. If the director grants the petition, he or she shall promptly commence an appropriate proceeding in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. If the director denies the petition, he or she shall notify the petitioner in writing setting forth the reasons for the denial.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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