§22-9-8. Alternative method.

(a) Whenever provision is made in this article by reference to this section for using an alternative method or material in carrying out any obligation imposed by the article, the person seeking the authority to use such alternative method or material shall file an application with the director describing such proposed alternative method or material in reasonable detail. Notice of filing of any such application shall be given by registered mail to any coal operator or operators affected. Any such coal operator may within ten days following such notice, file objections to such proposed alternative method or material. If no objections are filed within said ten-day period or if none is raised by the director, the director shall forthwith issue a permit approving such proposed alternative method or material.

(b) If any such objections are filed by any coal operator or are raised by the director, the director shall direct that a conference be held in accordance with section ten of this article within the ten days following the filing of such objections. At such conferences the person seeking approval of the alternative method or material and the person who has filed such objections shall attempt to agree on such alternative method or material or any modification thereof, and if such agreement is reached and approved by the director, the director shall forthwith issue a permit approving the alternative method or material. If no such agreement is reached and approved, the director shall direct that a hearing be held in accordance with section ten of this article: Provided, That if the alternative method or material involves a new development in technology or technique the director may, before such a hearing is held, grant such affected parties a period not to exceed ninety days to study and evaluate said proposed alternative method or material. Following such hearing, if the director shall find that such proposed alternative method or material will furnish adequate protection to the workable coal seams, the director shall by order approve such alternative method or material; otherwise the director shall deny the said application.