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RULE §12.312Procedure for Seeking Release of Performance Bond

(a) Bond release application.

  (1) The permittee may file a request with the Commission for the release of all or part of a performance bond or deposit. Applications may be filed only at times or during seasons authorized by the Commission in order to properly evaluate the completed reclamation operations. The times or seasons appropriate for the evaluation of certain types of reclamation shall be established in the regulatory program or identified in the mining and reclamation plan required in Subchapter G of this chapter (relating to Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations Permits and Coal Exploration Procedures Systems) and approved by the Commission.

  (2) Within 30 days after any application for bond or deposit release has been filed with the Commission, the operator shall submit a copy of an advertisement placed at least once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the surface coal mining operation. Such advertisement shall be considered part of any bond release application and shall contain the permittee's name, a notification of the precise location of the land affected, the number of acres, the permit number and date approved, the amount of the bond filed and the portion sought to be released, and the type and appropriate dates of reclamation work performed, and a description of the results achieved as they relate to the operator's approved reclamation plan, and the name and address of the Commission office to which written comments, objections, or requests for public hearings and informal conferences on the specific bond release may be submitted pursuant to §12.313(d) and (e) of this title (relating to Criteria and Schedule for Release of Performance Bond). In addition, as part of any bond release application, the permittee shall submit copies of letters which he or she has sent to adjoining property owners, local governmental bodies, planning agencies, sewage and water treatment authorities, and water companies in the locality in which the surface coal mining and reclamation activities took place, notifying them of the intention to seek release from the bond.

  (3) The permittee shall include in the application for bond release a notarized statement which certifies that all applicable reclamation activities have been accomplished in accordance with the requirements of the Act, the regulatory program, and the approved reclamation plan. Such certification shall be submitted for each application or phase of bond release.

(b) Inspection by Commission.

  (1) Upon receipt of the bond release application, the Commission shall, within 30 days, or as soon thereafter as weather conditions permit, conduct an inspection and evaluation of the reclamation work involved. Such evaluation shall consider, among other things, the degree of difficulty to complete any remaining reclamation, whether pollution of surface and subsurface water is occurring, the probability of future occurrence of such pollution, and the estimated cost of abating such pollution. The surface owner, agency, or lessee shall be given notice of such inspection and may participate with the Commission in making the bond release inspection. The Commission may arrange with the permittee to allow access to the permit area, upon request by any person with an interest in bond release, for the purpose of gathering information relevant to the proceeding.

  (2) Within 60 days from the filing of the bond release application, if no public hearing is held pursuant to §12.313(d) of this title (relating to Criteria and Schedule for Release of Performance Bond), or, within 30 days after a public hearing has been held pursuant to §12.313(d), the Commission shall notify in writing the permittee, the surety, or other persons with an interest in bond collateral who have requested notification under §12.309(l) of this title (relating to Terms and Conditions of the Bond), and the persons who either filed objections in writing or objectors who were a party to the hearing proceedings, if any, of its decision to release or not to release all or part of the performance bond.

Source Note: The provisions of this §12.312 adopted to be effective April 7, 1997, 22 TexReg 3093; amended to be effective December 29, 1998, 23 TexReg 13041.

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