Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations

Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

The Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division (OGMD), Minerals and Ground Water Unit, within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), has the responsibility for issuing permits to engage in coal mining with the state under the authority of Part 635, Surface and Underground Coal Mine Reclamation, (formerly Public Act 303 of 1982) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA). The purpose of this permit is to regulate the mining of coal, to provide for the reclamation of land subjected to coal mining, and to control the adverse environmental effects of coal mining. Under the provisions of the Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, P.L. 95-87, the U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, has implemented a federal program for coal mining in Michigan. Therefore, until the state attains primacy over P.L. 95-87, Michigan's coal mining operations will be dually regulated.

A. NAME OF PERMIT OR APPROVAL:

Permit to conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations

Mineral exploration is regulated under Part 625, Mineral Well, as Test Wells

B. STATUTORY AUTHORITY:

Part 635, Surface and Underground Coal Mine Reclamation, Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended

C. APPLICABLE REGULATION:

Not Applicable

D.  SUMMARY OF PERMIT/APPROVAL PROCESS:

 1.  Applicability (activities that require the permit)

Any person or operator wishing to mine coal, as defined by Part 635 of the NREPA, for commercial or industrial purposes.

This statute does not govern activities specific to mineral exploration. Mineral exploration is regulated under Part 625, Mineral Well, as Test Wells.

 2.  Pre-Application Requirements

The permit shall not exceed three years, except as provided in Part 635 of the NREPA, and has the right of successive renewal if the mining and reclamation operations have been carried out in compliance with the act, the rules promulgated thereby, and the permit conditions.

 3.  Application Submission Requirements
  • Application
  • Comprehensive mining and reclamation plan
  • Determination of probable hydrologic consequences
  • Statement of test borings, core sampling and analysis of the chemical properties of the coal
  • Soil survey
  • Determination of the impact on historic resources
  • Preparation of an Agricultural Impact Statement
 4.  Procedures and Time-Frame for Obtaining Permit or Approval
  • Applicant submits application and supplemental materials to the OGMD.
  • Other divisions which may be affected are contacted for their recommendations.
  • Applicant shall file a copy of the application with the county clerk of each county and the township clerk of each township in which the mining is proposed to occur.
  • Applicant shall place an advertisement of ownership, location, and boundaries of the land to be affected in a local newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the proposed operation for four consecutive weeks.
  • The OGMD shall notify local units of government in the vicinity of the proposed operation of the operator's intent to conduct surface mining operation and make a copy of the application available for public inspection at the county courthouse or the township office.
  • The OGMD reviews the information obtained through the public comment procedures and the interdepartmental review process and recommends to the director of EGLE to grant or deny the permit.
  • The permit application must be approved or denied within 120 days after receipt of a complete application which is in compliance with all requirements of the act.
 5.  Operational Requirements
  • Applicant must comply with all applicable rules and regulations and any stipulations set forth in the permit.
  • On-site inspections are made.
 6.  Fees
  • Before coal is removed from the permitted area, a performance bond of not less than $10,000 for the entire area under one permit must be filed with the state.
  • The applicant must also submit to the MDEQ, as part of each permit application, a certificate of a public liability insurance policy in force for the operation.
  • The coal mine operator is assessed an inspection and reclamation fee of not more than 25 cents per ton of coal mined per year to cover the cost of surveillance, monitoring, inspections, reclamation, administration, and enforcement of the Act.
 7.  Appeal Process

The appeal of the agency determination would be in the form of an administrative hearing with the final department decision being adopted by the Director, EGLE.

 8.  Public Input Opportunities

The decision maker in this process is the State Geologist, (who is also the Director of the OGMD). There is a formal public notice process, which includes notice in the Environmental Calendar and local newspapers. In addition, interested parties may request to be notified of the public comment period through e-mail. The 30-day public comment period is the best opportunity for public comment; public comment can be in the form of a telephone call, e-mail, or a letter. EGLE has not received any applications for coverage under this permit for a number of years.

E. ADMINISTERING AGENCY:

Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division, Minerals and Mapping Unit, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, P.O. Box 30256, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7756

  • Program Phone: 517-284-6841

 

Creation/Revision Date:

May 2019