Senate Bill No. 502
(By Senators Fanning, Kessler, Boley, Foster, Bailey, Wells,
Unger and Plymale)
[Introduced January 30, 2008; referred to the Committee on
Energy, Industry and Mining; and then to the Committee on
A BILL to amend and reenact §22-3-30a of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, relating to allowing penalties collected
under the Department of Environmental Protection's blasting
program to be deposited in the Special Reclamation Fund.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §22-3-30a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. SURFACE COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION ACT.
§22-3-30a. Blasting requirements; liability and civil penalties
in the event of property damage.
(a) Blasting shall be conducted in accordance with the rules
and laws established to regulate blasting.
(b) If the
of Environmental Protection establishes after an inspection that a blast at a surface coal mine
operation as defined by the provisions of subdivision (2),
subsection (a), section thirteen-a of this article was not in
compliance with the regulations governing blasting parameters and
resulted in property damage to a protected structure, as defined in
section twenty-two-a of this article, other than water wells, the
following penalties shall be imposed for each permit area or
contiguous permit areas where the blasting was out of compliance:
(1) For the first offense, the operator shall be assessed a
penalty of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five
(2) For the second offense and each subsequent offense within
one year of the first offense, the surface mining operator shall be
assessed a penalty of not less than five thousand dollars nor more
than ten thousand dollars.
(3) For the third offense and any subsequent offense within
one year of the first offense, or for the failure to pay any
assessment set forth within a reasonable time established by the
the surface mining operator's permit is subject
to an immediate issuance of a cessation order, as set out in
section sixteen of this article. The cessation order
only be released upon written order of the
director of the division
Secretary of the Department
of Environmental Protection when the
following conditions have been met:
(A) A written plan has been established and filed with the
assuring that additional violations will not
(B) The permittee has provided compensation for the property
damages or the assurance of adequate compensation for the property
damages that have occurred; and
(C) A permittee shall provide
monetary and other
considers appropriate to
compensate for future property damages. The monetary assurances
required shall be in an amount at least equal to the amount of
compensation required in paragraph (B), subdivision (3) of this
(4) In addition to the penalties described in subdivisions
(1), (2) and (3) of this subsection for the second and subsequent
offenses on any one permitted area regardless of the time period,
the owner of the protected structure is entitled to a rebuttable
presumption that the property damage is a result of the blast if:
(A) A preblast survey was performed; and
(B) The blasting site to which the second or subsequent
offense relates is within seven tenths of a mile of the protected
(5) No more than one offense may arise out of any one shot.
For purposes of this section, "shot" means a single blasting event
composed of one or multiple detonations of explosive material or the assembly of explosive materials for this purpose. One "shot"
may be composed of numerous explosive charges detonated at
intervals measured in milliseconds.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b)
of this section, the
Protection may not impose penalties, as provided
(b) of this section, on an operator for the violation of any rule
identified in subsection (b) of this section that is merely
administrative in nature.
(d) The remedies provided in this section are not exclusive
not bar an owner or occupant from any other remedy
accorded by law.
(e) Where inspection by the
Environmental Protection establishes that production blasting, in
violation of section twenty-two-a of this article, was done within
three hundred feet of a protected structure, without an approved
site-specific blast design or not in accordance with an approved
site-specific blast design for production blasting within one
thousand feet of any protected structure as defined in section
twenty-two-a of this article or within one hundred feet of a
cemetery, the monetary penalties and revocation, as set out in
subsection (b) of this section, apply.
(f) All penalties and liabilities as set forth in subsection
(b) of this section shall be assessed by the
collected by the
and deposited with the
Treasurer of the State of West Virginia
in the "general school
fund" to the credit of the Special Reclamation Fund established in
section eleven of this article.
shall propose rules for legislative
approval pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this
code for the implementation of this section.
(h) The provisions of this section do not apply to the
extraction of minerals by underground mining methods.
That nothing contained in this section may be construed to This
section does not
exempt any coal mining operation from the general
contained in section thirteen of this
article and any rules promulgated pursuant thereto.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow penalties collected
under the Department of Environmental Protection's blasting program
to be deposited in the Special Reclamation Fund.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would