(b) It is the purpose of this article to create the office of explosives and blasting within the division of environmental protection, and to vest in the office the authority to enforce all the rules and laws established to regulate blasting consistent with the authority granted in this article.
(b) As of the effective date of this article, the office of explosives and blasting shall assume responsibility for the enforcement of all the rules and laws established to regulate blasting consistent with the authority granted in this article.
(c) Terms used in this article shall have the definitions set forth in article three of this chapter, unless used in a context that clearly requires a different meaning or as otherwise defined herein.
(a) Regulating blasting on all surface-mining operations;
(b) Implementing and overseeing the pre-blast survey process, as set forth in section thirteen-a, article three of this chapter;
(c) Maintaining and operating a system to receive and address questions, concerns and complaints relating to mining operations;
(d) Setting the qualifications for individuals and firms performing pre-blast surveys;
(e) The education, training, examination and certification of blasters; and
(f) Proposing rules for legislative approval pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code for the implementation of this article.
disciplinary procedures for certified blasters.
(a) The office of explosives and blasting shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, for the purposes of implementing this article. The rules shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) A procedure for the review, modification and approval, prior to the issuance of any permit, of any blasting plan required to be submitted with any application for a permit to be issued by the director pursuant to article three of this chapter, which sets forth procedures for the inspection and monitoring of blasting operations for compliance with blasting laws and rules, and for the review and modification of the blasting plan of any operator against whom an enforcement action is taken by the division of environmental protection;
(2) Specific minimum requirements for pre-blast surveys, as set forth in section thirteen-a, article three of this chapter;
(3) A procedure for review of pre-blast surveys required to be submitted under section thirteen-a, article three of this chapter;
(4) A procedure for the use of seismographs for production blasting which shall be made part of the blasting log;
(5) A procedure to warn of impending blasting to the owners or occupants adjoining the blasting area;
(6) A procedure to limit the type of explosives and detonating equipment, the size, the timing and frequency of blasts based upon the physical conditions of the site so as to: (A) Prevent injury to persons; (B) prevent damage to public and private property outside the permit area; (C) prevent adverse impacts on any underground mine; (D) prevent change in the course, channel or availability of ground or surface water outside the permit area; and (E) reduce dust outside the permit area;
(7) Provisions for requiring mining operators to publish the planned blasting schedule in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the mining operation; and
(8) Provisions for requiring mining operators to provide adequate advance written notice of the proposed blasting schedule to local governments, owners and occupants living within the distances prescribed in subsection (a), section thirteen-a, article three of this chapter.
(b) The office of explosives and blasting shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. The rules shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) Provisions for establishing a process for the education, training, examination and certification of blasters working on surface-mining operations; and
(2) Provisions for establishing disciplinary procedures for all certified blasters responsible for blasting on surface-mining operations conducted within this state in violation of any law or rule promulgated by the division of environmental protection to regulate blasting.
(b) Claims which may be filed and determined under the provisions of this section shall be those arising from both of the following:
(1) Damage to property arising from blasting activities conducted pursuant to a permit granted under article three of this chapter; and
(2) The damage is incurred by a claimant who is the owner or occupant of the property.
(c) The claims process established by the office of explosives and blasting shall include the following:
(1) An initial determination by the office of the merit of the claim; and
(2) An arbitration process whereby the claim can be determined and resolved by an arbitrator in a manner which is inexpensive, prompt and fair to all parties.
The office shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code for the development of standards for establishing rules relating to the initial claim determination and the arbitration process provided in this subsection.
(d) If the operator disagrees with the initial determination made by the office and requests arbitration, then the following shall apply:
(1) Any party may be represented by a representative of their choice;
(2) At the request of the claimant, the office shall provide the claimant with representation in the arbitration process, which representation shall not necessarily be an attorney-at-law; and
(3) If the claim is upheld in whole or in part, then the operator shall pay the costs of the proceeding, as well as reasonable representation fees and costs of the claimant, in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars.
(e) Participation in the claims process created by this section shall be voluntary for the claimant. However, once the claimant has submitted a claim for determination under the provisions of this section, it is intended that the finding of the office, if not taken to arbitration, shall be final. If arbitration is requested, it is intended that the results of such arbitration shall be final. The office shall provide written notification to the claimant of the provisions of this subsection and shall secure a written acknowledgment from the claimant prior to processing a claim pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(f) The operator shall pay any claim for which the operator is adjudged liable within thirty days of a final determination. If the claim is not paid within thirty days, the director shall issue a cessation order pursuant to section sixteen, article three of this chapter for all sites operated by the operator.
(g) No permit to mine coal shall be granted unless the permit applicant agrees to be subject to the terms of this section.
(h) To fulfill its responsibilities pursuant to this section, the office may retain the services of inspectors, experts and other persons or firms as may be necessary.
proceedings not affected.
(a) All orders, determinations, rules, permits, grants, contracts, certificates, licenses, waivers, bonds, authorizations and privileges which have been issued, made, granted or allowed to become effective prior to the enactment of this article shall remain in effect according to their terms until modified, terminated, superseded, set aside or revoked pursuant to this article, by a court of competent jurisdiction, or by operation of law.
(b) Any proceedings, including notices of proposed rule-making, or any application for any license, permit or certificate pending before the division are not affected by this enactment.
(b) The office shall propose a legislative rule for promulgation in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code establishing the fees required by this section. The fees shall be calculated to generate sufficient money to provide for the operation of this office and the Division of Energy as provided for in article two-f, chapter five-b of this code. These fees cannot be increased except by legislative rule and cannot be used to fund additional positions in the Division of Energy in future years.
(c) The office shall deposit all moneys received from these fees into a special revenue fund to be known as the Mountaintop Removal Fund in the State Treasury to be expended by the offices and the Division of Energy in the performance of their duties. The expenditure of moneys in the fund is not authorized from collections, but shall be appropriated by the Legislature.
(1) Ground vibrations associated with blasting and how the vibrations impact protected structures;
(2) The proper size and shot parameters to assure protection of protected structures;
(3) The necessity of expanding the parameters where blasting is prohibited in relation to protected structures to assure that the shots do not cause damage to protected structures;
(4) The appropriateness of modifying pre-blast survey requirements that reflect a pattern of excessive ground vibration and air blast has occurred within a measured distance;
(5) Analysis of the appropriate air blast limitations to determine damage criteria; and
(6) Any other data or recommendations the office deems appropriate.
(b) The office shall report the data and recommendations to the joint committee on government and finance on or before the first day of January, two thousand one, and annually thereafter or as otherwise required.
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32. Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session