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RULE §10.7Conduct of Exploration and Mining Operations

    (F) whether security fencing to protect the public from hazardous sites or conditions should be required;

    (G) whether full restoration, including spreading of topsoil stockpile, of all areas disturbed during permitted activity to preoperation elevations, contours, and substrata should be required;

    (H) whether steep slopes which are subject to damaging erosion should be modified to facilitate revegetation and prevent erosion;

    (I) whether replanting of disturbed native vegetation should be required; and

    (J) whether seeding and mulching plans should be modified so that different materials are used or applied at different rates or times.

(f) Minimum standards of conduct on state premises.

  (1) These minimum standards of conduct will apply whenever a lessee, permittee, or other operator is on state premises even if only reconnaissance activities are taking place.

  (2) All activities shall be conducted so as to minimize adverse environmental impact on surface resources.

  (3) Operator shall comply with applicable federal and state air quality standards and emission permit requirements.

  (4) Operator shall comply with applicable federal and state water quality standards and wastewater discharge permit requirements and federal permitting requirements applicable to disturbance of wetlands, watercourses, and flood plains. Operator shall in its construction activities, to the greatest extent possible, avoid disturbance within natural watercourses and their immediate flood plains. Operator shall use only so much of underground water as may be reasonably necessary. If water-bearing strata or underground aquifers are encountered during drilling activities, shaft construction, or subsurface excavation, measures shall be taken by the operator to prevent pollution of such underground water sources. Operator shall comply with all applicable Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and RRC rules for the protection of usable quality water within the premises.

  (5) Operator shall comply with applicable federal and state standards for the disposal and treatment of all hazardous materials and all solid and liquid wastes. All garbage, refuse, or trash shall either be removed from premises or disposed of, or treated so as to minimize, so far as practicable, its impact on the environment and surface resources. All waste rock, deleterious materials or substances and other waste produced by operations shall be deployed, arranged, disposed of, or treated in accordance with federal and state requirements and so as to minimize adverse impact upon the environment and surface resources.

  (6) Operator shall comply with the National Historical Preservation Act of 1966, 16 United States Code §470 (1985 and Supplement 1988) and the Antiquities Code of Texas, Title 9, Chapter 191, Texas Natural Resources Code, where applicable.

  (7) Operator shall comply with the United States Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 United States Code §§1531 - 1543 (1985 and Supplement 1988) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 67, 68, and 88, which relate to endangered plants or wildlife and protected nongame.

  (8) Preservation of existing vegetation shall be maximized at all times.

  (9) These provisions concerning roads do not apply to premises leased under §10.5 of this title (relating to Mining leases on Relinquishment Act Lands). Operator shall, if possible, use existing roadways for access to and across the premises. Operator must justify construction of new roads by demonstrating that there is no feasible and prudent alternative. Operator shall construct and maintain all roads so as to assure adequate drainage and to minimize damage to soil, water, and other natural resources. Roads utilized shall be left in as good a condition as they were prior to use by operator.

  (10) During all operations the operator shall maintain structures, equipment, and other facilities in a safe, neat, and workmanlike manner. Hazardous or dangerous sites or conditions resulting from operations shall be fenced, marked by signs, or otherwise identified to protect the public in accordance with all state and federal laws and regulations.

  (11) Unless the RRC regulates reclamation efforts or unless a written notification to the GLO under subsection (h)(1) of this section states otherwise, permittee or lessee shall reclaim the surface as specified in the plan of operations within six months of the expiration of the permit or lease.

(g) Minimum standards of conduct on TPWD lands.

  (1) Operators on premises whose surface is owned, or leased by TPWD or is subject to a conservation easement in favor of TPWD are also subject to the additional regulations found in this subsection.

    (A) Operator is subject to all TPWD rules in effect for the park or wildlife management area on which operations are conducted to the extent that the park or management area rules are not inconsistent with rules or regulations found in this section or with the reasonable development of PSF minerals.

    (B) No operations shall be commenced without notification of the park superintendent or area manager 48 hours in advance of entering TPWD premises. Permittee or lessee shall allow only those operators that are necessary for operations to access the TPWD premises.

    (C) No firearms or archery equipment shall be permitted at any time on TPWD lands by any operator. Permittee or lessee shall be liable for any taking of fish, wildlife, plants, or archeological resources by any operator.

    (D) Unless an approved plan of operations provides otherwise, no materials required for construction of roads shall be taken or borrowed from TPWD lands. There shall be no vehicular travel off existing roads during wet weather. Where travel is permitted by drilling buggies and water wagons, such vehicles shall use high flotation tires.

    (E) Operator shall permanently stake limits of proposed access roads on the ground a minimum of 30 days prior to and throughout actual operations or other activities. Each access road is subject to review and approval by the GLO. The area disturbed during construction activity shall be strictly minimized. Access roads shall not exceed 30 feet in width and operator shall use existing roads whenever possible.

    (F) The following rules apply to new roads constructed by or improved and used by operator unless otherwise requested by TPWD and approved by the GLO in a plan of operations.

      (i) Roads no longer needed for operations shall be closed to normal vehicular traffic.

      (ii) Bridges and culverts shall be removed.

      (iii) Cross-drains, dips, or water bars shall be constructed.

      (iv) The road surface shall be shaped to as near a natural contour as practicable and be stabilized.

    (G) If a diversion between all drilling or excavation sites, pads, and all upslope areas is required in an approved plan of operations, the diversion shall be constructed with a flared outlet stabilized by rock or other grade stabilization structures as necessary to prevent erosion. Drilling sites should be sloped with a minimum grade 0.3-0.5% to drain into such diversions so the run-off does not flow over the fill area. Sediment shall be cleaned out of diversion and properly disposed of periodically. A temporary straw bale barrier containing no noxious weed shall be constructed along the base of the drill site where it follows a natural water course. A temporary bale barrier shall be established immediately after the drill site is constructed to prevent erosion while side slopes are being stabilized. The bale barrier must be maintained, sediment removed and bales replaced. Sedimentation on areas adjacent to the drill or excavation site shall be minimized. Topsoil to a maximum depth not to exceed 18 inches shall be stockpiled on the upslope edge of each drill or excavation site and separated from upslope run-off by a diversion, or with other erosion control as necessary.

    (H) Unless an approved plan of operation states otherwise, no explosives shall be used within 750 feet of any building, utilities, or water well or within 1, 000 feet of any water retention structures. All proposed use of explosives shall be specifically described in an approved plan of operations.

    (I) Restoration of the disturbed area to approximate original contours and revegetation with appropriate native vegetation may be required.

    (J) Operator shall, at all times, keep lands under permit or lease, access roads, and prospect sites free of trash and litter generated by operations. No vegetation or topsoil shall be pushed, windrowed, or abandoned except in preparation for disposal by means approved by the GLO in the plan of operations. Operator shall keep muds, cuttings, and all other fluids, including all contaminants and saline fluids, in tanks or containers for removal from the site. All drilling muds and fluids shall be water-based and nontoxic to fish and wildlife; provided, however, that other drilling muds and fluids may be used if, in the plan of operations, the GLO determines that there is no prudent or feasible alternative. Soil-damaging petroleum and other chemicals shall be hauled from the TPWD lands and disposed of lawfully. Dumping of any such materials on TPWD lands is prohibited.

    (K) Operator shall, to the extent practicable, harmonize operations with scenic values through such measures as the design and location of operating facilities, including roads and other means of access, screening of operations by native vegetation, if possible, and construction of structures and improvements which blend with the landscape.

    (L) In addition to compliance with water quality and solid waste disposal standards required by this section, operator shall take all practicable measures to maintain and protect fisheries and wildlife habitat which may be affected by the operations.

    (M) Operator shall comply with all applicable state and federal fire laws and regulations and shall take all reasonable measures necessary to prevent and suppress fires in the area of operations.

  (2) As soon as the GLO receives a plan of operations which covers TPWD lands and which supplies all the data required in subsection (d) of this section, the GLO shall mail a copy of the plan of operations to the TPWD for review and comment.

  (3) TPWD must submit its comments, if any, to the GLO within 30 days of TPWD's receipt of a plan of operations.

  (4) Plan of operations on TPWD land may not be approved until at least 30 days after the TPWD receives the plan of operations. When the GLO approves a plan of operations on TPWD land, GLO will send TPWD a copy of the approved plan on the day the plan is approved.

(h) Completion of operations and abandonment of premises.

  (1) This subsection shall apply to all operations except those involving coal, lignite, uranium, or uranium ore operations which are regulated by the RRC.

  (2) Within two weeks after all operations and all reclamation activities addressed in the plan of operations have been completed, permittee, or lessee shall send the GLO the following information:

    (A) date when operations ceased;

    (B) date when reclamation activities ceased;

    (C) problems encountered during reclamation activities;

    (D) success of reclamation efforts in improving the surface condition;

    (E) any additional reclamation activities that permittee or lessee believes are necessary to restore or improve the surface, vegetation, topsoil, or wildlife habitat;

    (F) date on which any proposed additional reclamation activities, if any, shall begin and end; and

    (G) date on which the premises shall be ready for initial GLO inspection.

  (3) The GLO will inspect the premises to verify that the reclamation required in the plan of operations has been completed. If a performance bond guaranteeing reclamation has been required in the plan of operations, it will be returned upon successful completion of reclamation activities.

Source Note: The provisions of this §10.7 adopted to be effective March 22, 1989, 14 TexReg 1280; amended to be effective December 10, 2009, 34 TexReg 8776

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