§22-2-7. Liens against reclaimed land; petition by landowner; appeal; priority of liens.

(a) Within six months after the completion of a project to restore, reclaim, abate, control or prevent adverse effects of past coal surface-mining practices on a privately owned land, the director shall itemize the moneys so expended and may file a statement thereof in the office of the clerk of the county commission in the county in which the land lies, together with a notarized appraisal by an independent appraiser of the value of the land before the restoration, reclamation, abatement, control or prevention of adverse effects of past coal surface-mining practices, if the moneys so expended result in a significant increase in property value. The statement constitutes a lien upon the land. The lien shall not exceed the amount determined by the appraisal to be the increase in the market value of the land as a result of the restoration, reclamation, abatement, control or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal surface-mining practices. No lien may be filed against the property of any person in accordance with this subsection, who owned the surface prior to the second day of May, one thousand nine hundred seventy-seven, and who neither consented to, nor participated in, nor exercised control over the mining operation which necessitated the reclamation performed hereunder.

(b) The landowner may petition the director within sixty days of the filing of the lien to determine the increase in the market value of the land as a result of the restoration, reclamation, abatement, control or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal surface-mining practices. The amount reported to be the increase in value of the premises is the amount of lien and shall be recorded with the statement herein provided. Any party aggrieved by the decision may appeal to the circuit court of the county in which the land is located.

(c) The statement filed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section is a lien upon the land as of the date of the expenditure of the moneys and has priority as a lien second only to the lien of real estate taxes imposed upon the land.