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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 1RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 12COAL MINING REGULATIONS
SUBCHAPTER AGENERAL
DIVISION 1GENERAL
RULE §12.3Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this Chapter (relating to Coal Mining Regulations), shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

  (1) Acid drainage--Water with a pH of less than 6.0 and in which total acidity exceeds total alkalinity, discharged from an active, inactive or abandoned surface coal mine and reclamation operation or from an area affected by surface coal mining and reclamation operations.

  (2) Acid-forming materials--Earth materials that contain sulfide minerals or other materials which, if exposed to air, water, or weathering processes, form acids that may create acid drainage.

  (3) Act or State Act--The "Texas Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act" (Texas Natural Resources Code, Chapter 134).

  (4) Adjacent area--Land located outside the affected area or permit area, depending on the context in which adjacent area is used, where air, surface or ground water, fish, wildlife, vegetation or other resources protected by the Act may be adversely impacted by surface coal mining and reclamation operations.

  (5) Administratively complete application--An application for permit approval or approval for coal exploration where required, which the Commission determines to contain information addressing each application requirement of the regulatory program and to contain all information necessary to initiate processing and public review.

  (6) Affected area--Any land or water surface which is used to facilitate, or which is physically altered by surface coal mining and reclamation operations. Affected area includes the disturbed area; any area upon which surface coal mining and reclamation operations are conducted; any adjacent lands the use of which is incidental to surface coal mining and reclamation operations; all areas covered by new or existing roads used to gain access to, or for hauling coal to or from surface coal mining and reclamation operations; any area covered by surface excavations, workings, impoundments, dams, ventilation shafts, entryways, refuse banks, dumps, stockpiles, overburden piles, spoil banks, culm banks, tailings, holes or depressions, repair areas, storage areas, shipping areas; any areas which contain sited structures, facilities, or other property material on the surface resulting from, or incident to, surface coal mining and reclamation operations; and the area located above underground workings.

  (7) Agricultural activities--With respect to alluvial valley floors, the use of any tract of land for the production of animal or vegetable life, where the use is enhanced or facilitated by subirrigation or flood irrigation associated with alluvial valley floors. These uses include, but are not limited to, the pasturing, grazing or watering of livestock, and the cropping, cultivation or harvesting of plants whose production is aided by the availability of water from subirrigation or flood irrigation. Those uses do not include agricultural practices which do not benefit from the availability of water from subirrigation or flood irrigation.

  (8) Agricultural use--The use of any tract of land for the production of animal or vegetable life. The uses include, but are not limited to, the pasturing, grazing, and watering of livestock, and the cropping, cultivation, and harvesting of plants.

  (9) Airblast--An airborne shock wave resulting from the detonation of explosives and which may or may not be audible.

  (10) Alluvial valley floors--The unconsolidated stream-laid deposits holding streams with water availability sufficient for subirrigation or flood irrigation agricultural activities but does not include upland areas which are generally overlain by a thin veneer of colluvial deposits composed chiefly of debris from sheet erosion, deposits formed by unconcentrated runoff or slope wash, together with talus, or other mass-movement accumulations, and windblown deposits.

  (11) Anthracite--Coal classified as anthracite in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard D 388-77. Coal classifications are published by the ASTM under the title, "Standard Specification for Classification of Coals by Rank", ASTM D 388-77. This ASTM Standard is on file and available for inspection at the Office of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division, Railroad Commission of Texas, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas.

  (12) APA--The "Administrative Procedure Act" (Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001).

  (13) Applicant--Any person seeking a permit, permit revision, renewal, and transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights from the Commission to conduct surface or underground coal mining and reclamation operations pursuant to the Act. With respect to Subchapter G of this chapter (relating to Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations Permits and Coal Exploration Procedures Systems), this term includes a person who seeks to obtain exploration approval or a permit under that subchapter and the regulatory program. With respect to Subchapter M of this chapter (relating to Training), this term includes a person who submits an application to the Commission to request blaster training, examination or certification.

  (14) Applicant/Violator System or AVS--An automated information system of applicant, permittee, operator, violation and related data that the Office maintains to assist in implementing the Federal Act.

  (15) Application--The documents and other information filed with the Commission under this chapter (relating to Coal Mining Regulations) for the issuance of permits; revisions; renewals; and transfers, assignment, or sale of permit rights for surface coal mining and reclamation operations or, where required, for coal exploration. With respect to Subchapter M of this chapter, this term includes a request submitted to the Commission on a prescribed form, and including any required fee and any applicable supporting evidence or other attachments.

  (16) Approximate original contour--That surface configuration achieved by backfilling and grading of the mined areas so that the reclaimed area, including any terracing or access roads, closely resembles the general surface configuration of the land prior to mining and blends into and complements the drainage pattern of the surrounding terrain, with all highwalls, spoil piles and coal refuse piles eliminated. Permanent water impoundments may be permitted where the Commission has determined that they comply with §134.092(a)(8) of the Act.

  (17) Aquifer--A zone, stratum, or group of strata that can store and transmit water in sufficient quantities for a specific use.

  (18) Arid or semiarid area--In the context of alluvial valley floors, an area west of the 100th meridian west longitude, experiencing water deficits, where water use by native vegetation equals or exceeds that supplied by precipitation. As an example, the Eagle Pass field in Texas is in an arid or semiarid area.

  (19) Auger mining--A method of mining coal at a cliff or highwall by drilling holes into an exposed coal seam from the highwall and transporting the coal along an auger bit to the surface.

  (20) Best Technology Currently Available (BTCA)--Equipment, devices, systems, methods, or techniques which will:

    (A) prevent, to the extent possible, additional contributions of suspended solids to stream flow or runoff outside the permit area, but in no event result in contributions of suspended solids in excess of requirements set by applicable state or federal laws; and

    (B) minimize, to the extent possible, disturbances and adverse impacts on fish, wildlife and related environmental values, and achieve enhancement of those resources where practicable. The term includes equipment, devices, systems, methods, or techniques which are currently available anywhere as determined by the Commission, even if they are not in routine use. The term includes, but is not limited to, construction practices, siting requirements, vegetative selection and planting requirements, animal stocking requirements, scheduling of activities and design of sedimentation ponds in accordance with §§12.330 - 12.403 and 12.500 - 12.572 of this title (relating to Permanent Program Performance Standards--Surface Mining Activities, and to Permanent Program Performance Standards--Underground Mining Activities). The Commission shall have the discretion to determine the best technology currently available on a case-by-case basis, as authorized by the Act and this chapter.

  (21) Blaster--A person who is directly responsible for the use of explosives.

  (22) Blaster certification--To issue to an applicant a Commission Blaster Certificate.

  (23) Blasthole--A hole drilled for the placement of explosives in rock or other material to be blasted.

  (24) Blasting crew--Persons whose function is to load explosive charges and assist blasters in the use of explosives.

  (25) Cemetery--Any area of land where human bodies are interred.

  (26) Certificate issuance--To grant to an applicant his or her first Commission blaster certificate.

  (27) Certificate reissuance--To grant to an applicant, who has had a Commission blaster certificate that expired or was revoked, a subsequent certificate for which additional training and examination are required.

  (28) Certificate renewal--To grant to an applicant, who holds a Commission blaster certificate that is currently valid and not expired or revoked, a subsequent certificate for which training and examination are not required.

  (29) Certificate replacement--To grant to an applicant, who holds a Commission blaster certificate that is currently valid and not expired, suspended, or revoked, a duplicate certificate as a substitute for one that was lost or destroyed.

  (30) Certified blaster--A person who has met the qualifications of Subchapter M of this chapter and who has been issued a Commission blaster certificate that is currently valid and not expired, suspended, or revoked.

  (31) CFR--The federal Code of Federal Regulations.

  (32) Close of public comment period--The close of a public hearing on a surface mining permit application. When no public hearing is held, this time shall be 30 days after the last publication of the newspaper notice required by §12.207(a) of this title (relating to Public Notices of Filing of Permit Applications).

  (33) Coal--Combustible carbonaceous rock, classified as anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, or lignite by ASTM Standard D 388-77.

  (34) Coal exploration--The field gathering of:

    (A) Surface or subsurface geologic, physical, or chemical data by mapping, trenching, drilling, geophysical, or other techniques necessary to determine the quality and quantity of overburden and coal of an area; or

    (B) The gathering of environmental data to establish the conditions of an area before beginning surface coal mining and reclamation operations under the requirements of this chapter.

  (35) Coal exploration operation--The substantial disturbance of the surface or subsurface for the purpose of coal exploration.

  (36) Coal mine waste--Coal processing waste and underground development waste.

  (37) Coal mining operation--The business of developing, producing, preparing or loading bituminous coal, subbituminous coal, anthracite, or lignite, or of reclaiming the areas upon which such activities occur.

  (38) Coal preparation--Chemical or physical processing and the cleaning, concentrating, or other processing or preparation of coal.

  (39) Coal processing plant or coal preparation plant--A facility where coal is subjected to chemical or physical processing or cleaning, concentrating, or other processing or preparation. It includes facilities associated with coal preparation activities, including, but not limited to, the following: loading facilities; storage and stockpile facilities; sheds, shops and other buildings; water treatment and water storage facilities; settling basins and impoundments; coal processing and other waste disposal areas; and, roads, railroads and other transport facilities. It does not include facilities operated by the final consumer of the coal, such as an electricity generating power plant, when, in the opinion of the Commission, the primary purpose of the facilities is to make the coal ready for conversion into a different energy form and the facilities are located at or near the electricity generating plant or other point of final consumption away from the mine site and outside of the approved mine permit area.

  (40) Coal processing waste--Earth materials which are separated and wasted from the product coal during cleaning, concentrating, or other processing or preparation of coal.

  (41) Combustible material--Organic material that is capable of burning, either by fire or through oxidation, accompanied by the evolution of heat and a significant temperature rise.

  (42) Commission--The Railroad Commission of Texas.

  (43) Commission Blaster Certificate--A certificate issued by the Commission to a person determined to be qualified under §§12.700 - 12.710 of this title (relating to Training, Examination, and Certification of Blasters) to be directly responsible for the use of explosives in mining operations regulated by the Commission.

  (44) Commissioner--One of the elected or appointed members of the decision making body defined as the Commission.

Cont'd...

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