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Citizen’s Guide to Coal Mining and Reclamation in Illinois A publication of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Mines and Minerals One Natural Resources Way Springfield, Illinois 62702-1271

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Citizen’s Guide to Coal Mining andReclamation in Illinois

A publication of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,Office of Mines and MineralsOne Natural Resources Way

Springfield, Illinois 62702-1271

TABLE OF CONTENTSCoal Mining and Reclamation In Illinois

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3The Illinois Perspective . . . . . . . . . 4Public Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Surface Mine Permit Review Process . 5Pre-Mining Inventory . . . . . . . . . . 6

Prime FarmlandHigh Capability Land Land UseMappingViolation Inventories

Mine Operation Plan . . . . . . . . . . . 9Topsoil and Root Medium

Removal and StorageBlastingOverburden Removal and

PlacementDrainageGob and Slurry

Mine Reclamation Plan . . . . . . . . 13Grading and Soil ReplacementSoil Quality and DepthLand UseProductivityDrainage

Experimental Practices . . . . . . . . 16Grandfathered Prime Farmland . . 16

Performance Bond and Fees . . . . . . . 17Bond Release . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Phase IPhase II Phase III

Underground Mines and Subsidence 18

Inspection and Enforcement . . . . . . . 20Federal Oversight . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Mining Prohibitions . . . . . . . . . . 22

Channels for Public Involvement . . . 22Permit Application . . . . . . . . . . . 22Exploration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Permit Revision and Renewal . . . 25Notice of Violation/Cessation

Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25Permit Suspension . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Citizen’s Request for State

Inspection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Pre-Blasting or Condition Survey 28Performance Bond Release . . . . . 29Regulation Changes . . . . . . . . . . 30Civil Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Petition for Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Intervention and Discovery . . . . . 31Lands Unsuitable for Mining . . . 32

Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -i-

If there is one misconception that exists today, it is in regard to surfacemining. Historically, the images of mine spoils and ruined land have beenconnected with this method of mining. Today, green pastures, productivecropland, fish and wildlife sanctuaries, clear water, forest land and

industrial, commercial and residential sites represent the post-mining land uses of surfacemined acreage.

Illinois landscapes are beginning to reflect more than 35 years of increasingly stringent stateregulations for the surface mining of coal. Post-mining land uses so closely approximatepre-mining land uses that it is often impossible to visually recognize that an area was oncethe site of a surface mining operation.

Illinois has long been regarded as a leader in reclamation. Reclaiming cropland soilproductivity and the creation of high quality wildlife habitats such as streams and wetlandsconstitute the highest priority in The Office of Mines and Mineral’s review of reclamationplans. Cropland and hay producing success is measured in actual yields on the reclaimedareas. Forest restoration is measured in tree survival. The crop-producing capability ofreclaimed soils must be scientifically projected in the permit application, and, unless legallyexempt, all prime farmland soils must be reclaimed to the state’s stringent prime farmlandstandards. Soils deemed exempted from this requirement prior to August 1982 still must bereclaimed to high-capability yield standards and 90 percent of their premining productivity.This requirement is unique to Illinois.

At the federal level, Public Law 95-87, the 1977 Surface Mining Control and ReclamationAct, was designed to bring stringent regulations to all states while at the same time, allowingthem to meet the nation’s growing energy needs. Meshing the regulation of land use withthe need for affordable fuel is a complex task.

This guide is intended to provide the reader with a concise explanation of various aspectsof the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Mines and Mineral’s coalregulatory program. It is not intended to be used as an official, authoritative source for anypurpose. The reader is advised to consult the State Act and the Department’s regulationsat 62 Ill.Adm. Code 1700 through 1850 for additional information on the various subjectsdiscussed herein.



The Illinois PerspectiveIllinois, like many other states, had laws toregulate coal mining and the restoration ofsurface mined lands prior to passage of the1977 Federal Surface Mine Act.

Illinois’ first reclamation law, the OpenCut Land Reclamation Act of 1962,required spoil ridge tops within 600 feet ofpublic roads to be leveled and graded andaffected areas seeded or planted when theland was to be used for pasture.

In 1968, requirements were increasedunder the Surface Mined LandReclamation act (SMLRA) to include abuffer zone between a mine boundary anda road or building.

The Illinois Surface Mined LandConservation and Reclamation Act(SMLCRA) of 1971 carried some of thetoughest restrictions in the country for thecoal mining industry. For example,operators were required to make a publicfiling of reclamation plans with the countyclerk. In addition to reclamation planapproval, a waiting period and a provisionfor public hearing were required before apermit could be issued.

SMLCRA, as amended in 1975, carriedimportant requirements for potential soilproductivity. For example, the staterequired that land be restored to rowcropland capability based on thecharacteristics of the soil rather than thehistoric use of the land.

The subsequent Federal Act allowed anexemption from prime farmlandrestoration standards if the historic usewas not for row crop production, eventhough the capability for such existed.

Because of Illinois’ high capability landstandards, more acres now are reclaimedto row crop capability in the state thanrequired by federal law. In addition, thebuffer zone between a mine and certainadjacent features, although not required bythe federal law, is part of the stateprogram.

Illinois’ attention to reclamation of theland for productive uses after mining ledto many of the federal rules andregulations for implementation of P.L.95-87 being drawn from the state’sprogram.

Illinois citizens, industry leaders andgovernment officials have worked sincepassage of the federal law in 1977 toobtain the right to implement reclamationregulations at the state level. Illinois lawwas redrafted to reflect changes, and newrules and regulations were developed.

The Surface Coal Mining LandConservation and Reclamation Act waspassed on June 1, 1980, to beimplemented with adoption of thepermanent regulatory program.

In May 1982, the Secretary of theDepartment of the Interior approved theIllinois program, thus implementing thepermanent regulatory program for surfacecoal mining and reclamation in the state.

With that approval came the task ofadministrating the program; the first stepbeing the repermitting of every surfaceand underground coal mine in Illinois. ByFebruary 1, 1983, all permanent programperformance standards were in place forIllinois coal mines, both surface andunderground.


Monthly inspections by state reclamationspecialists are required at every activemine site. Rigorous performancestandards are enforced, and strictabatement deadlines are established whenNotices of Violation are issued.

The Federal Office of Surface MiningReclamation and Enforcement (OSM) alsooversees the Illinois permitting andreclamation program to ensure operatorcompliance. Spot inspections are madeand violations are reported to the Office ofMines and Minerals, which must act toenforce the law.

Additionally, operators must comply witha host of other local, state and federal lawsand programs to maintain a permit to minecoal in Illinois. These federal lawsinclude the clean Air Act, Clean WaterAct, Resource Conservation and RecoveryAct, Federal Coal Mine Health and SafetyAct, Endangered Species Act, Fish andWildlife Coordination Act, NationalHistoric Preservation Act, theArchaeological and Historic PreservationAct and Executive Order 11593, whichrelates to protection of both historic andpre-historic sites.

Public ReviewA great deal of planning goes into miningand reclamation in Illinois. A detailedpermitting process and a strictenforcement system help to ensure thewise use of limited coal and landresources.

The Illinois permitting process hasprovisions for extensive citizeninvolvement, affording an opportunity forthe needs of diverse interest groups to be

met in the allocation of the state’sresources.

Chapter VI of this handbook details thechannels for public involvement.

A state Interagency Committee alsoreviews permit applications forcomponents applicable to a particularagency’s area of expertise. Agenciesrepresented on this committee include:

• Illinois Department ofAgriculture

• Illinois Department of NaturalResources/Office of Realty andEnvironmental Planning

• Illinois Department of NaturalResources/Office of WaterResources

• I l l ino i s Env i ronmen ta lProtection Agency

• Illinois Historic PreservationAgency

Although the U.S. Natural ResourcesConservation Service (NRCS) is not onthe Interagency Committee, it commentson soil and agricultural aspects of allproposed mining operations.

In addition, a Surface Mining AdvisoryCouncil, composed of citizens, educators,industry and government representatives,meets three times a year to reviewprogress on implementation of theregulatory program.

Under the state reclamation act and thestate freedom of Information Act, public

r e c o r d sa r eavailablet oc i t i zens

Surface Mine Permit

Review Process


for review at the Office of Mines andMineral’s (OMM) Springfield andSouthern District offices. The state’s active surface mine,underground mine and carbon recoveryoperators are responsible to obtain apermit to mine coal.

Three major components of a permitapplication must be submitted to theDepartment: (1) The pre-mininginventory; (2) the mine operation plan;and (3) the mine reclamation plan. Onceapproved, the usual term of a permit isfive years, with review at mid-term. Apartial review may be done if a revision isrequested. Upon expiration of a permitthe operator has a right to renew thepermit for an additional period.

Operators must adhere to detailedperformance standards at all phases ofmining and reclamation.

Pre-Mining Inventory A coal company’s first step in compilinga surface mining permit application is togather data in a pre-mining inventory fromthe site, including facts regarding:

• surface and groundwater qualityand quantity

• alternative water supplies• soil depth, type, and quality• p h y s i c a l / c h e m i c a l

characteristics of strataincluding coal seam

• existing land uses• prime farmland• high capability land• major plant communities• archeological sites

A Small Operator’s Assistance Program(SOAP) exists to aid operators producingless than 300,000 tons of coal annually ingathering hydrologic and geologic data todetermine probable hydrologicconsequences of mining.

Some of the more detailed data-gatheringrequirements for operators are outlinedbelow.

Prime Farmland - A coal company mustgather data on prime farmland todetermine the amount of such acreage atthe mining site. The first step in theprocess is to obtain a soils map preparedto the specifications of the NaturalResources Conservation Service (NRCS).The NRCS has established a list of primefarmland soils for Illinois. Primefarmland is classified as soil having thebest combination of physical and chemicalproperties for producing food, feed,forage, fiber and oilseed crops. As ageneral rule, this includes Class I and IIland under the NRCS classificationsystem.

If a prime farmland soil exists, but theland has not been used as cropland for fiveout of the last 10 years before acquisitionfor mining (or if the soil floods during thegrowing season and crop yields arereduced more than once in two years), anoperator may submit a request for negativedetermination. This means the land wouldnot have to be reclaimed to primefarmland standards if the request weregranted, but would be subject toreclamation specifications for highcapability land.

Also, prior to obtaining a permit to mineprime farmland, the operator mustdemonstrate the technical capability to


restore the land to its pre-miningproductivity.

High Capability Land - Land that iscapable of growing row crops, but whichdoes not have all the physical andchemical characteristics of prime farmlandmust be identified by operators.

High capability land presently is identifiedas Class I, II and III land under the NRCSclassification system with slopes generallyless than 12 percent. Class IV land also iseligible where slope is less than fivepercent.

This land must be restored to thecapability of growing row crops accordingto topsoil and rooting medium depth

requirements somewhat similar to primefarmland. However, the operator does notnecessarily have to restore row cropvegetation if another use existedpreviously and it has been approved forpost-mining land use.

This requirement for high capability landhas existed in Illinois since 1976. (The

federal regulatory program alone wouldnot have required this land be restored torow crop capability.)

Due to Illinois’ high capability landrequirements, many additional acres arereclaimed to row cropland capability inthis state.

Prime Farmland Illinois Acres

Total Acres of Land in Illinois 35,661,000Total Prime Farmland Acres 21,381,000Prime Farmland in Crops 19,075,000Prime Farmland in Pasture 1,139,000Prime Farmland in Forest 602,000Prime Farmland in Other Uses 565,000

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Champaign, Illinois. U.S. National Erosion Inventory 1977.

Coal Reserves

Strippable Coal Reserves 944,000

IL. State Geological Survey Circular 504, 1978 and updated by Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals to July 1992

Coal Reserves and Prime Farmland

Stripable Coal Reserves 544,000

Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals, unpublished report, 1992 revision.


Land Use - Existing land uses must beidentified in the pre-mining inventory,including a statement of the condition andproductivity of the land to be mined.

A map must be provided showing landuses at the time of application. And, if theuse was changed within five years of theproposed mining, historic use also must bedescribed.

The capability of the land to support avariety of uses must be analyzedaccording to soils, topography, vegetativecover and hydrology of the area.Productivity prior to mining must be givenin terms of yield at a high level ofmanagement.

If the area had been previously mined, adescription must be given of the miningand extent of reclamation, as well as landuses preceding the mining.

The following land use categories exist forclassification: cropland, pastureland,grazing land, forestry, residential,industrial/commercial, recreation, fish andwildlife habitat, developed waterresources and undeveloped land.

The Department also makes acomprehensive check for any part of theproposed permit area which may havebeen designated unsuitable for mining,whether by petition or congressionaldesignation.

Also, other government agencies reviewthe permit for fragile, historic,archaeological, recreational or sceniclands that may not be mined, but yet couldbe affected by nearby surface coal miningoperations.

Mapping - A modern soil survey must be

conducted for the entire proposed miningsite. Other maps are required that showlocations and descriptions of:

• surface and sub-surface landboundaries

• ownership boundaries of theproposed mine

• locations of all structures• pre-mined land use• public roads within 100 feet• boundaries of parks, public

lands, historical or culturalsites, cemeteries and Indianburial grounds

• coal test bores and core samples• monitoring stations for water

quality• d a m s , e m b a n k m e n t s ,

impoundments• surface water bodies• geologic cross-sections• coal seam depth, thickness and

outcrops• active, inactive or underground

mines and surface openings• waste disposal areas• pre-mining land slopes• oil, gas and water wells

Violation Inventories - Prior to permitissuance, the department reviews theapplicant’s violation record on OSM’sApplicant Violator System. A Permitcannot be issued to an applicant whocontrols or has controlled a miningoperation that has a demonstrated patternof willful violations which have resultedin irreparable damage to the environmentand have indicated and intent not tocomply with the law.


Mine Operation PlanAs part of the permit application, theoperator must submit an operation plandetailing:

• the type of mining• the direction of mining• access roads• the facilities for coal processing• waste disposal areas• buildings and structures• water impoundments• stream diversions• water and air pollution control

facilities• overburden and topsoil handling

and storage areas

Topsoil removal and storage, blasting andoverburden remova l mus t beaccomplished in a way that will aidreclamation.

All water affected by the mining operationmust be passed through siltation structuresprior to leaving the permit area. Waterquality leaving the site must be incompliance with all applicable state andfederal water quality laws.

Topsoil and Root Medium Removal and

Storage - Before mining begins,operators must plan for the replacement oftopsoil after the coal is removed.Operators must detail in the mineoperation plan how topsoil will beremoved and protected from wind andwater erosion. Topsoil storage locationsalso must be approved.

All existing topsoil on prime farmlandmust be removed in a separate layer fromareas to be disturbed. All existing topsoil,or a minimum of eight inches of topsoil,must be removed from high-capability

land, and a minimum of six inches fromother lands.

If these required topsoil depths do notexist, then subsoil immediately belowmust be removed as well or a substituteapproved. The total soil profile on primefarmland and high-capability croplandmust be a minimum of 48 inches,including topsoil and subsoil.

In addition, a topsoil substitute may beused where it is determined selectedoverburden materials are equal or moresuitable chemically and physically forsustaining revegetation than the existingtopsoil.

The topsoil is usually removed withscraper machinery and stockpiled. It isthen seeded and stabilized to prevent windand water erosion and marked as topsoil toprevent mixing with any other stored soilmaterial.

A small berm of subsoil or small fence ofhay bales is usually built around the baseof the stockpile to prevent soil lossesthrough wind or water erosion. Operatorsmay transport topsoil directly to replacedand graded mined overburden or replacedroot medium (subsoil).

Prime farmland topsoil must be marked assuch. Subsoil or an approved substratummaterial is typically, concurrentlyremoved and replaced on gradedoverburden to form the root medium.Occasionally root medium may need to bestockpiled to meet total soil depth andquality requirements for a selected post-mining land use. Root medium is handledwith a variety of equipment includingscrapers, trucks, bucket wheel excavatorsand draglines.


Careful handling of the topsoil and rootmedium is crucial to reclamation for thisis the medium in which the success ofplant growth, revegetation and restoredproductivity is determined.

Blasting - To get to the coal seam after

topsoil layers have been removed, rocklayers may have to be fractured withexplosives.

The mine operator must submit a blastingplan with each permit application whenblasting is planned explaining how theapplicant will comply with theDepartment’s regulation. The plan shallincluded:

• a copy of the proposed blastingschedule and a list of persons towhom the schedule will bedistributed.

• a copy of the format used tonotify persons within one-halfmine of the proposed permitarea as to how to obtain a pre-blasting or condition survey.

• a brief description of proceduresto be used to perform pre-blasting or condition surveysand for distributing copies toowners/residents and theDepartment.

• a copy of the blasting reportform.

• the names and addresses of theowners of all dwellings or otherstructures within one-half mileof the proposed permit area andthe distance to them.

• information setting for themethods to be applied incontrolling the adverse effectsof blasting.

• a description of any system tobe used to monitor compliancewith air blast or groundvibration limits.

A proposed blast design shall besubmitted if blasting operations will beconducted within (a) 1,000 feet of anybuilding used as a dwelling or any otherstructure requiring protection; or (b)within 500 feet of an active or abandonedunderground mine.

The blast design may either be presentedas part of the permit application orapproved by the Department prior to theblast. The blast design shall be preparedand signed by a certified blaster.

The blasting schedule for a surface minemust be published in a local newspaper atleast 30 days but not more that 60 daysbefore beginning a blasting program. Theperson who conducts the surface miningactivities shall republish and redistributethe schedule at least every 12 months.

All blasting shall be conducted fromsunrise to sunset at times announced in theblasting schedule. Unscheduled blastingmay be conducted only when required forthe health and safety of the operator or thepublic.

Warning and all-clear signals audiblewithin one-half mile must be soundedbefore and after each blast. Access to theblasting area shall be controlled to preventthe presence of livestock or unauthorizedpersonnel.

Flyrock, including blasted materialtraveling in the air or along the ground,shall not be cast: (a) beyond the permitboundaries; (b) beyond the area of


regulated access; or (c) more than one-halfthe distance to the nearest dwelling orother occupied structure.

There are limits on the location ofblasting. It cannot be conducted unless awaiver is obtained within 300 feet of aschool, church, hospital nursing facility oroccupied dwelling. A 100-foot limit isplaced on some disposal, storage andtransmission facilities.

Specific limits also are placed on groundvibration and air blast levels produced byblasting. The measurement for groundvibrations is peak particle velocity. Thereare three ground vibration limits, each ofwhich is determined by the distance fromthe blast to the protected structure.

Air blast levels or limits are measured indecibels (dB). There are three air blastlimits, each of which is determined by themeasuring characteristics of themonitoring system being used.

Records must be kept for three years ofall blasts, including required seismographrecordings and reports. These must bemade available for public inspection.

An individual who believes an operatormy be in violation of air blast or groundvibration limits can request a seismographfrom the Department to monitor blasts onhis/her property. The Departmentoperates and maintains the seismograph asa public service to check for operatorcompliance with the law.

Damages believed to be incurred must besought directly from the operator orthrough litigation.

Overburden Removal and Placement -After unconsolidated soil materials aretaken away, rocky overburden loosened byblasting is removed, usually with adragline or shovel to expose the coal seambelow.

This rocky material is placed in thebottom of the previously mined-out pit.However, material from the initial pit orbox cut may be placed on the unminedland surface.

Ground Vibration LimitsDistance to Maximum peakprotected structure particle velocity

less than 300' 1.25 inches per second300' to 5,000' 1.00 inch per secondgreater than 5,000' 0.75 inches per


Lower limits may be required under unusual orexception conditions to help ensure againstdrainage.

Air Blast Limits

Lower frequency limits inHertz (Hz) of measuring Maximum Airsystem (+3dB) Blast Limit

0.1 or lower flat response 134 dB2.0 or lower flat response 133 dB6.0 or lower flat response 129 dB


Some dragline operators use selectivehandling of the overburden to allowplacement of the more productive subsoilmaterials on the surface. Theunconsolidated (rock free) subsoil layersare placed on top of rocky overburden toensure that a suitable root medium isavailable for achieving cropland capabilityduring reclamation.

Mining with a combination of hydraulicexcavators and large trucks has becomemore common for removal andreplacement of overburden. The bucket-wheel excavator is an effective machinefor replacement of root medium as ithandles only the uncondsolidated layers,placing them on the coarse overburden.However, their use is limited to sites withthick unconsolidated deposits.

Overburden can contain layers with pyrite,which produce acid when exposed to airand water. These layers are buried in thebottom of the pit, or must be covered witha minimum of four feet of nontoxic,noncombustible earthen material.

Drainage - During mining, all drainagefrom disturbed areas must pass throughsediment ponds or other siltationstructures before leaving the mining site.

The mine operation plan must indicate therouting of drainage and the location anddesign of sediment ponds. It must alsoinclude sizing for sediment and waterloads, and provide embankment andspillway details.

Applicable state and federal effluent limitsvary considerably, depending upon severalfactors, including:

• source of water• design of sediment ponds (state

limits)• amount and duration of

precipitation (federal limits)• quality of water prior to

treatment• type of mining operation or


In regard to the amount and duration ofprecipitation, not only can effluent limitsvary, but so can the parameters for whichlimits apply. The situations are referred toby OSM and the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency (USEPA) as “rainfallexemptions.”

Sediment ponds must provide adequatesediment storage volume and detentiontime to allow the effluent from the pondsto meet state and federal limits. If pondsfill with sediment during the miningprocess, they must be dredged to ensurelimits are met. Operators also may be required to monitorgroundwater levels and quality throughoutthe mining and reclamation process.Additionally, and operator may berequired to furnish an alternate watersupply when the existing water supply is

Base effluent limitations for runoff from the

structures during mining and reclamation*

Total Daily 30 DayMaximum Average

Iron 7 3.5Manganese 4 2.0Total suspended solids 70 35.0

pH (6-9)

*Measured in Milligrams/liter


affected by contamination, diminution oris interrupted due to mining activities.

Gob and Slurry -The operation plan must

detail where coal will be stockpiled, aswell as how and if it will be cleaned andprocessed. Coal processing waste (goband slurry), which are coarse and finewaste, respectively, from the coal cleaningprocess, can be potentially acid-formingand/or toxic.

The plan must outline how gob and slurrywill be disposed. The material must betreated or covered with a minimum of fourfeet of nontoxic, noncombustible earthenmaterial to prevent production of acidwater.

Maintenance of good runoff water qualityand revegetation of the disposal siteensure that no problems will arise fromcoal processing waste. Presently there ismuch interest in reclaiming slurry pondsto wetland, wildlife areas. When doneproperly, good water quality can beproduced to support high-qualitywetlands.

Mine Reclamation PlanHow an operator has carried outplacement of rocky overburden greatlydetermines the success of reclamation.The material must be shaped carefully toguarantee proper grade, slope and contourdesign.

A mine reclamation plan must be preparedto show how overburden will be graded,subsoiled if needed, topsoiled andrevegetated; post-mining land usesaccomplished; and pre-existing streamsrestored. Detailed requirements must bemet throughout the reclamation process.

Grading and Soil Replacement -

Operators must plan to provide roughgrading of rocky, mined overburdenwithin 180 days of coal removal and musthave no more than four ungraded spoilridges behind the active pit.

This grading is done before subsoil ortopsoil is replaced. Water thataccumulates between spoil ridges shouldbe diverted and drained prior to grading toaid drying and limit compaction withmachinery.

The replaced overburden must be shapedto result in adequately drained land withits approximate original contour. Preexisting streams must be replaced.Material from the initial pit or box cutmust be graded to blend with unminedland and have a maximum outslope of 25percent.

Along the sides of the pit whereoverburden has been replaced, materialmust be blended with unmined land,providing a maximum outslope of 15percent, if compatible with thereclamation plan.

Final grading must be completed by thefall of the year following each year’smining. Final grading includes any rootmedium replacement, topsoil replacementand installation of erosion controlmeasures such as terraces, diversions,grass waterways ad drains.

Roughening the ground surface,particularly on steep slopes, beforeapplying soil enures cohesion, preventsslippage and limits erosion. Operatorsalso grade replaced soil during dry periodsto limit compaction.


Usually topsoil is applied with rubbertired scraper machinery and sometimes isspread with low ground pressurebulldozers. Deep tillage methods are bingused to remove compaction.

Soil Quality and Depth - Operators must

show in the reclamation plan how soilquality and depth requirements on primefarmland and high-capability cropland willbe met after final grading.

The total soil profile, including subsoiland topsoil, must be a minimum of 48inches for prime farmland and high-capability land, including fragipan soils.Operators must guarantee the replacementof topsoil to a depth that will ensure thedevelopment of the selected post-miningland use.

All previously existing topsoil must bereplace on prime farmland. In the case ofhigh-capability land, all previouslyexisting topsoil must be replaced with aminimum of eight inches of topsoil. Forother land capabilities, a minimum of sixinches of topsoil is required.

Unless they existed before mining, norocks may be present in prime farmlandtopsoil. Subsoil, or root medium, must beequivalent to or better than that whichexisted before mining.

No coarse fragments greater than 10inches maybe present in root medium ofhigh-capability lands. The volume ofcoarse fragments in the root medium mustbe less than 20 percent, and clay contentcannot exceed 40 percent.

After the root medium (or subsoil) isreplaced on prime farmland and high-capability land, OMM reclamation

specialists dig a series of pits to check thesoil for quality and proper thickness.Should the replaced rood medium not passinspection, the operator must cover thedeficient area with an adequate depth ofacceptable root medium.

Topsoil is checked for depth and properreclamation. Topsoil removal operationsbefore mining also are monitored toensure complete removal and properstorage.

A topsoil substitute may be used whenexisting topsoil is eroded on sloping land,when it is thin or chemically deficient orwhere it is unsafe for equipment tooperate. However, the substitute musteither equal or exceed the quality ofexisting topsoil.

Land Use - Post mining land uses

generally are similar to the pre-miningland uses. When determining use,consideration is given to citizen andlandowner preferences and localgovernment policies and plans. Anychange from the pre-mining land use mustbe approved by the Department.

Comments from the surface owners andthe state and local government agenciesthat are responsible for initiating,implementing, approving or authorizingthe resulting land use must be submitted inthe operator’s reclamation plan.

Additionally, facts regarding thereclaimed land’s capability of supportingalternative uses must be included since thesoil’s’s capability is the single mostimportant consideration.

For example, if, before mining, a parcel offorest land meets all the soil


characteristics of high-capability land, itmust be restored according to soilreconstruction specifications for restoringhigh-capability lands. Although theability of the land to grow row crops mustbe restored, post mining vegetation maycorrespond to the approved land use suchas grasses for a pasture or trees for forestland.

The same vegetation does not have to berestored when a new land use is approved,except in the case of prime farmlandwhere row crop land use must be returnedregardless of previous land use.

Productivity - Reclamation plans must

detail any chemical analysis of topsoil thatwill be performed to aid the establishmentof vegetation. Fertilizers or soilamendments are applied as needed.

Most plans provide for a nurse crop ofwheat or oats on reclaimed land followedby a grass-legume mix for several years toprevent erosion of soils and to restore soilstructure, organic matter, tilth andporosity.

Before the company’s reclamationresponsibility ends, vegetation is to beestablished consistent with the post-mining land use plan. For cropland andhayland, crop and hay production must beachieved for the reclaimed areas. A countof the vegetation covering the ground isused on land uses other than cropland andhayland.

A vegetation liability period begins at thestage when all grading is completed andthe land is planted to a crop capable ofsupporting the post-mining land use.

In order to meet the required reclamationstandard for prime farmland, the operatormust show productivity equivalent tocomparable unmined areas using rowcrops for three years. The post-miningland use for prime farmland must becropland.

For row crops, (high-capability cropland)other than on prime farmland, the operatormust show productivity equivalent to 90% of comparable unmined areas using rowcrops for two years to meet the requiredreclamation standard.

For hayland/pasture, productionequivalent to 90 percent of a comparableunmined area must be shown for twoyears. A 90 percent ground cover isneeded to meet the required reclamationstandard.. Remained areas must have aminimum of 70 percent ground cover, andall erosion must be stabilized.

For forest/wildlife land use, a stockingrate must be met the last year of the five-year liability period. A stocking rateexists for forest of 450 live trees per acreand 250 trees per acre for land used andwildlife habitat. In addition a 70 percentgroundcover is required to preventerosion. For wetlands land use theminimum area extent must be 30 % withapproved wetland species.

Presently, the Agricultural LandProductivity Formula (ALF) is being usedto establish crop and hay yield targets tomeasure post-mining productivity onhayland and cropland. The formulaadjusts the targets each year to reflectlocal weather conditions.

Drainage - Siltation structures on the site

must be maintained until a permanent


stand of vegetation has been establishedon the watershed of the structures. Waterquality coming into them must meeteffluent limitations.

Ponds not approved for retention aftermining must be removed. Dams must betaken out, sediment graded or disposed ofand the land seeded before reclamation iscomplete. Operators must show how thiswill be accomplished in the reclamationplan.

A water impoundment is allowed in thefinal cut or pit of the mined area if analternative land use proposal has beenapproved or if sufficient water acreagewas present previously. The operatormust detail the size, sideslips andrevegetation of the sideslips of a waterimpoundment.

Experimental PracticesSometimes an operator believes a certainmining or reclamation practice can beused in lieu of the required practice toachieve equal or better reclamation at alower cost.

Innovative efforts to improve mining andreclamation technology are encouraged.However, before an operator can engagein an alternative mining or reclamationpractice on an experimental basis or forresearch, he must apply to the Departmentfor a variance under either a permitrevision request or a new permitapplication.

The application must:

• indicate the nature of theexperimental practice

• explain how it encouragestechnological advances or

• allows a post-mining land usenot feasible under the regulatoryprogram

• specify that no larger area thannecessary is used to show theeffectiveness and economicfeasibility of the practice

• document that the experimentalpractice is as effective or moree f f e c t i v e i n m e e t i n gperformance standards thanapproved practices

• explain that it will not reduceprotections for public health andsafety

• ensure that special monitoringwill be conducted.

The federal Office of Surface Mining(OSM) also must approve a variance foran experimental practice. Such permitsmust be reviewed every two and one-halfyears or at least once prior to the middleof the permit term.

When submitting a permit to theDepartment to seek a variance for anexperimental practice, an operator mustplace notice in a local newspaper once aweek for four consecutive weeks.

Required notifications are identical tothose for filing a permit application. (SeeChapter VI , “Channels for PublicInvolvement.”) Anyone who is or mightbe adversely affected by the practice mayrequest a public hearing.

Grandfathered Prime FarmlandCoal mine operators were required to meetmany stringent new regulations when the1977 Federal Act was passed. To helpease the transition, operators were allowedto “grandfather” or exempt some primefarmland acres from certain regulations.


In Illinois, approximately 26,000 acres ofland permitted for coal mining beforeAugust 3, 1977, or which are consideredpart of a revised or renewed permitexisting before that time, may begrandfathered.

Approximately one-half of these acreswere grandfathered before August 1,1982. The remaining 13,000 acres of landwere required to meet the requirements ofprime-farmland.

Criteria used to determine if lands areeligible for grandfathering include; (1) alegal right to mine before August 3, 1977,through ownership, contract or lease; and(2) the lands must be part of a singlecontinuous surface mining operation.

In carrying out reclamation, soil ongrandfathered lands must be replacedusing high-capability land standards. Aminimum total of 48 inches of soil mustbe replaced, including at least eight inchesof topsoil.

There are approximately 21 million acresof prime farmland in Illinois. Only 26,000acres are eligible for grandfathering, with19,000 acres being grandfathered to date.

A f t e r t h eDepartment hasc o m p l e t e dreview of ap e r mi t a n d

approved it, but before it is issued, theoperator must provide the Departmentwith a surety bond to insure theperformance of reclamation. If thepermittee does not complete reclamation,the state will have sufficient moneyavailable to accomplish the task.

The bond rate is calculated based on theland use planned after mining and thetechniques and time used to reclaim theland according to the approvedreclamation plan.

For example, bond could be lower if soilremoval and replacement for revegetationwere handled with the same machine, suchas a bucket wheel excavator or a draglineduring general overburden removal. Noroot medium would need to be hauled inafter storage.

If scrapers or trucks are used to transportthe root medium to the reclamation siteafter storage, costs can be significantlyhigher with the added equipment use andlabor.

Typically for high-capability cropland orprime farmland where root medium ishauled, the cost of reclaiming mined land(bond rate) exceeds $10,000 per acre. Forany permit a minimum of $600 per acrebond must be set aside and not less than$10,000 for a permit.

Additionally, the state charges a one-timepermitting fee of $125 per surface-minedacre and $5 per acre per year for unminedland used for support facilities during thefive year permit term.

An abandoned mined lands reclamationfee of $0.35 per ton of surface-mined coaland $0.15 per ton of underground-minedcoal is charged operators by the OSM torestore abandoned mine sites. If these feesare not paid, the state can not issue newpermits or permit renewals.

Bond ReleaseAs reclamation is performed, bond isreleased in three phases. When requesting

Performance Bond

and Fees


release, an operator must submit a bondrelease application detailing the arearequested for release and how the area hasbeen reclaimed.

Phase I - When all backfilling, rough andfinal grading, topsoil replacement anddrainage and erosion control measures arein place, up to 60 percent of the bond maybe released.

Phase II -An additional amount of bond,usually 25 percent, can be released when:

• vegetation is established inaccordance with the approvedreclamation plan

• lands are not contributingsuspended solids to stream flowor run off outside the permitarea

• p r i m e f a r m l an d s o i lproductivity is returned toequivalent levels of yield asnon-mined land of the same soiltype

• provision for sound futuremaintenance of permanentimpoundments has been madethrough proper design andconstruction and rehabilitationof the impoundment.

Phase III - The remaining bond may bereleased when: (1) all reclamation iscomplete in accordance with thereclamation plan; (2) the land is capable ofsupporting the approved post-mining landuse; and (3) the vegetation liability periodhas expired.

Operators can choose to apply for bondrelease on all three phases of reclamationat once or for one phase at a time. If theDepartment determines the operator has

not met reclamation obligations, bondforfeiture can result. (See “PermitSuspension” in Chapter VI.)

Undergroundm i n eo p e r a t o r smust apply

for a permit to mine. The permitapplication must contain similarcomponents of a surface mine permitapplication where surface disturbance willoccur. Areas such as mine portals, refusedisposal areas and access roads must bepermitted and bonded. A pre-mininginventory, a mine operation plan and areclamation plan are submitted forapproval of the surface facilities

Underground mine operators are subject tothe same performance bond obligation andfees for surface facilities as are surfacemine operators. Bond obligation forsurface facilities is released on a similarreclamation schedule.

A mine subsidence control plan is alsoprovided part of the mine operation planwhich must be detailed and examined bythe state for all active mines operating onor after February 1, 1983. Areasundermined after February 1, 1983, andproposed areas to be mined in the futureare termed “shadow areas.”

Operators must demonstrate that goodmining and engineering standards andpractices are proposed that eithermaximum mine stability is being providedin the mining operation to preventsubsidence, to the extent technologicallyand economically feasible, or that miningwill be carried out to produce plannedsubsidence. Planned subsidence involves

Underground Mines

and Subsidence


nearly total seam extraction and results inimmediate surface subsidence in apredictable and controlled manner.

Besides extensively mapping the mine,operators must give information on thetechnique of coal removal, percentage ofcoal extraction, pillar sizes, extractiondimensions, and secondary extraction,geologic strata above and below the mineand groundwater systems. The subsidencecontrol plan must include a survey of allstructures and surface features. This islargely a general description of the landand surface features in the area.

If planned subsidence is proposed,operators are required to define its extentand location, damage expected to occurand measures to be taken to mitigate anymaterial damage to land and structures.

Monitoring to measure ongoing effects ofmining is required under circumstanceswhere the Department determines it maybe necessary to protect the surface withthe particular mining methods used.

When damage to surface structures isattributed to a mining operation whereactive mining took place on or afterFebruary 1, 1983, the mine operator mustcompensate the owner at pre-subsidencevalue by repairing or replacing structuresor paying for the damage or buying thestructure.

Damage to land must be repaired to its fullpre-subsidence capability. Such repairsmay require subsurface drains or surfaceditching to carry away water collecting indepressions that were created. Low areasalso can be filled to help restore them.

In the past, waivers were granted tooperators by landowners absolving themof any responsibility for subsidencedamage.

However, the operator must now repairsubsidence damage to land and structuresregardless of any waiver. Thisrequirement is applicable to allunderground mining occurring afterFebruary 1, 1983.

Under present departmental policy, repairsmade to structures and land are notrequired until the subsidence movementshave stabilized. Mitigation carried outbefore the area is stable would only haveto be repeated later.

The operator must also mail miningnotifications to property owners andresidents of the surface property andstructures above an underground mine atleast six months prior to mining. Thenotices must identify specific areas wheremining will take place, dates when thearea will be undermined, the type ofmining to be employed and measures to betaken to prevent or mitigate subsidencedamage that may occur.

Anyone suspecting subsidence damageshould contact the mining company forcompensation. If no satisfaction isobtained, the Department should becontacted. If the company is found liable,it is required by regulation to takeremedial action to restore damaged areas.

Operators must also provide forreclamation of the land disturbed whilemining. Coal cleaning wastes (gob andslurry) must be properly disposed. Thismaterial usually is buried or stabilized onthe surface.


When coal extraction is complete, mineshafts must be refilled for safety and toavoid accumulation of toxic drainage.Roads and other surface structures, suchas parking lots, buildings, etc., must bereclaimed according to the approvedreclamation plan.

Besides regularr e v i e w o fa p p r o v e dp e r m i t s ,r e c l a m a t i on

and blasting specialists ensureenforcement of detailed performancestandards at all phases of mining andreclamation.

A minimum of at least one partialinspection per month must be made ateach mining and reclamation operation.And, a minimum of one completeinspection of the entire mine must bemade every three months.

Inspectors examine the area surrounding amine to look for indications of an off-siteviolation. For example, sedimentoccurring in a stream nearby could betraced to a violation of erosion control orwater quality standards at the permittedarea.

If an inspector finds a violation ofperformance standards at a mine that doesnot create an imminent danger to publichealth or safety or significant, imminentenvironmental damage to lands, air orwater resources, a Notice of Violation iswritten.

The notice must list the violation, where itoccurred at the mine, and, mostimportantly, the specified action theoperator must take to abate the violation.

A deadline is given for remedying theinfraction.

An operator may be granted up to 90 days,including extensions, to abate a violation.More time may be allowed if, despiteextraordinary efforts, it was not possibleto abate the violation because of reasonsbeyond the operator’s control. Examplescould possibly include legal proceedings,labor disputes, adverse climatic conditionsor when abatement in 90 days wouldcause imminent danger to the public orharm to the environment.

If a violation is causing an imminentdanger to public health or safety orsignificant, imminent environmentaldamage to lands, air or water resources, aCessation Order can be issued to stopoperation of that part of the mine.

A Cessation Order also must be issuedwhen the abatement action specified in aNotice of Violation is not taken in thespecified time period.

When a pattern of violations is causedwillfully or through unwarranted failure tocomply with the law, a Show-Cause Ordermay be issued requiring the operator toshow why the permit and the right to mineshould not be suspended or revoked.

A pattern of violations exists if a violationis repeated or a related violation occursduring at least three state inspections in ayear. However, the Department maydecline to issue a Show-Cause Order, orvacate an outstanding Show-Cause Order,if it finds that, taking into accountexceptional factors present in a particularcase, it would be demonstrably unjust toissue or fail to vacate the Show-CauseOrder.

Inspection and



A Show-Cause Order review must beconducted when an operator fails to abatea violation specified in a Notice ofViolation or a Cessation Order within thespecified time period.

If a permit is revoked, reclamation mustbe completed by the operator in the timespecified in the order revoking the right tomine. If the right to mine is suspended,the operator must abate all violations andunlawful practices, as specified in theSuspension Order.

Should an operator fail to comply withreclamation orders, the Department maybegin bond forfeiture proceedings tocollect bond to complete the unfinishedreclamation.

Abating a violation can cost the operator agreat deal of money if a productionprocess such as blasting must be stoppedto take care of the illegal practice or whenequipment is shifted from the productionprocess. A mine producing 4 million tonsof coal a year can lose $16,000 an hour orclose to $400,000 a day when shut down.

A maximum $5,000 fine per day may belevied per violation. In assessing amonetary fine, the Department considersthe history of previous violations,seriousness of the violation, negligenceand good faith in attempting to achievecompliance.

The OMM may assess a monetary fine foreach day from the issuance of the Noticeof Violation or Cessation Order to the dateset for abatement. In addition, a penaltyfor not less than $750 per day must beassessed for each day the violation is notabated after the abatement period set inthe notice or order.

If a fine under a Notice of Violationexceeds $1,100, the Department mustcollect it. Under a Cessation Order, a finemust be assessed and collected regardlessof its amount. All violations appear on anoperator’s record whether or not a fine isinvolved.

The Department must make certain thatabatement occurs within 90 days.Payment of the penalty must be madewithin 30 days of receiving theassessment. If an operator wishes tocontest the fine, the total amount must bedeposited with the Department for depositin an escrow account duringadministrative or judicial review.

In addition, to obtain a permit in Illinois acoal operator must show that all violationsat the company’s mines across the countryare being satisfactorily remedied.

Federal OversightThe department’s program also isconstantly monitored by the OSM whichacts in an oversight capacity to the state’sregulatory authority. OSM inspectorsconduct spot checks of mine operation.

If federal inspectors believe they havefound a violation, or if a citizen reportssuch a violation to OSM, OSM can issuea 10 day notice to the departmentrequiring than an operator be issued aNotice of Violation or that the departmentsupply documentation as to why noviolation should be cited.

OSM monitors the program to ensureadequate permitting, inspection andenforcement operations. All permits,inspection reports and correspondence tooperators are reviewed, and an annual


review of the permitting process isconducted by OSM.

If OSM believes the state program is notbeing implemented properly, or if thefederal program is amended in such amanner that the state program is no longeras effective as the federal program, OSMmay require the Department to amend itsprogram or may withdraw programapproval in whole or in part.

Periodic audits also are conducted todetermine if federal grant monies arebeing spent properly. The Departmentreceives 50% matching grant funds fromOSM.

Mining ProhibitionsThere are certain areas where mining maynot be conducted, except in cases wherean operator can show that valid existingrights (VER) to mine existed beforeAugust 3, 1977. Unless VER areestablished, permits to mine will not beissued for land within:

• 300 feet of an occupieddwelling unless allowed by theowner.

• 300 feet of any public building,public park, school, church,community or institutionalbuilding.

• 100 feet of a cemetery.• 100 feet of a public road, except

in cases where a public hearinghas been conducted and theDepartment has determined thatthe public interest will beprotected.

• the boundaries of the NationalParks, the National WildlifeRefuges, the National System ofTrails, the National Wilderness

Preservation System, the Wildand Scenic Rivers System andNational Recreation Areasdesignated by Congress.

• the boundaries of any nationalforest without approval by theSecretary of Interior.

• publicly owned parks orpublicly owned places on theNational Register of HistoricPlaces that would be adverselyaffected, unless approvedjointly by the Department andthe agency with jurisdictionover the lands.

Lands designated unsuitable for mining byCongress may not be mined except wherean operator can show Valid ExistingRights. However, the Secretary of theU.S. Department of the Interior isempowered to acquire these lands toprevent mining.

Coal exploration may be allowed by OSMon lands designated unsuitable for miningif stringent permitting requirements aremet.

Permit ApplicationCoal companies must file 11 copies of apermit application with the state fordistribution to reclamation specialists, theIllinois Environmental Protection Agency(IEPA), Illinois Department of Agriculture(IDOA), the National ResourcesConservation Service (NRCS), and OSMThey must also file a copy with the headof the county board and a copy with the

Channels for Public



county clerk for public review in thecounty or counties where mining will bedone.

The Department also notifies the U.S. Fishand Wildlife Service, the U.S. ArmyCorps of Engineers, the U.S. Mine Safetyand Health Administration, governmentalplanning agencies and local water supplyand sewage treatment authorities in theproposed permit area that an applicationhas been filed. Copies are made availablefor review and copying at reasonable costat the Department’s Springfield andBenton Offices.

The company also is required to publishlegal notice of the application submittalwith a site description in a localnewspaper once a week for fourconsecutive weeks. The notice mustinform the public of the opportunity tosubmit comments and to request aninformal conference and/or a publichearing. The notice must reference anymining activities proposed within 100 feetof a public road.

Public entities and citizens may filewritten comments and/or request aninformal conference on the proposedmining within 30 days of the lastnewspaper notice, while a public hearingmay be requested within 80 days of thefirst newspaper notice. An officer or headof a government agency or anyone whoseinterests are or may be adversely affectedmay file written objections, request aninformal conference and/or request apublic hearing.

An informal conference must be heldwithin 75 days of the first newspapernotice. It must be advertised in a localnewspaper at least two weeks before it is

scheduled. And, if requested in writing,the Department may grant parties to theconference access to the mine plan area togather relevant information.

Such conferences are informal discussionsbetween the requester and the permitapplicant in an attempt to resolve therequester’s concerns. Participation islimited to these parties. If, however, apublic hearing is requested before the lastdate to request an informal conference, theconference will be canceled and a publichearing scheduled. Persons havingrequested an informal conference mayparticipate in the public hearing. Further,the public hearing may not be canceledwithout the consent of those havingpreviously requested the informalconference.

In addition, after an informal conference isheld, if citizens or representatives ofgovernment agencies believe theircomplaint has not been resolved, a publichearing can be requested, providing therequest is mad within 80 days of the firstnewspaper notice.

The Department must advertise a publichearing locally at least two weeks beforeit is held and must notify the county boardand other interested persons in the countyin which mining is to take place.

A pre-hearing conference may be held bythe hearing officer to bring all partiestogether to simplify issues, schedulewitnesses and to receive evidence. (If allparties that have requested a hearingwithdraw their requests, then the hearingneed not be held.)

At the hearing, the hearing officer mayrule on motions and requests, examine and


cross examine witnesses, admit or excludedata, direct witnesses to testify and hearoral arguments.

Within 60 days after the public hearing,the Department must issue, deny orrequest modification of a permit. If nopublic hearing is held, the Departmentmust make its decision within 120 days offiling the application.

When the Department grants or denies apermit, copies of its decision must begiven to the county board and to eachperson and government official who filedan objection or commented on theapplication or was party to an informalconference or a public hearing.

The permit may be issued at the time ofthe final decision provided that fee andbond have been submitted by thepermittee. The written requirements undera modification request and the applicant’sreply are placed on file in the countyclerk’s office with the Departments’decision findings and a copy of the issuedpermit.

Within 10 days after the issuance of thefinal decision, the Department must notifythe local government officials in thepolitical subdivision in which the permitarea is located that a permit has beenissued. A description of the location oflands within the permit area must beincluded.

Within 30 days of the applicant beingnotified of a final decision, anyone whoseinterests are or may be adversely affectedcan request an administrative reviewhearing on the decision. If administrativereview of the Department’s decision isrequested, and operator or person that is or

may be adversely affected by theDepartment’s decision may request and begranted temporary relief from thedecision. All parties to the administrativereview must be informed of any temporaryrelief request.

The Department must hold anadjudicatory or administrative reviewhearing within 30 days of theadministrative review request. No personwho presided at an informal conference orpublic hearing may preside at theadministrative review hearing.

At an adjudicatory hearing, the hearingoffice may administer oaths andaffirmations, subpoena witnesses, gatherevidence, compel attendance of witnessesand production of materials, compeldiscovery and conduct site inspections ofthe proposed operation. A decision mustbe rendered within 30 days of theconclusion of the proceedings. Theadministrative review decision may beappea led in accordance wi thadministrative review law.

ExplorationWhen exploration of more than 250 tonsof coal is undertaken, an individual mustfile an application for approval includinga reclamation plan with the Department.Within five days of the filing, theapplicant must publish a public notice in alocal newspaper.

The public may comment for at least 30days, and anyone adversely affected mayfile written comments on the applicationfor approval of coal exploration. TheDepartment publishes its decision ofapproval or denial of the explorationapplication in a local newspaper. Anyone


adversely affected may request anadministrative review hearing.

No coal exploration approval given by theDepartment may be interpreted by anoperator as a permit to mine coal.

An operator must also file a written noticeof intent to explore with the Departmentwhere less than 250 tons of coal will beremoved, and the notice must be placed onfile for public review.

Permit Revision and RenewalAn operator must seek a permit revisionwhen changes in mining or reclamationoperations constitute a significantdeparture from originally approvedprocedures. The only changes notincluded are:

• a change in the direction ofmining or location of miningequipment in the permit area.

• substitution of miningequipment if not detrimental tofinal reclamation

• any change in mining orreclamation operations allowedby the Department on a case-by-case basis not detrimental tofinal reclamation or involving asignificant delay or majorchange in land use.

• a temporary delay or change ino p e r a t i o n s c a u s e d b yunanticipated weather or otherconditions beyond the controlof the operator.

Citizen participation avenues for asignificant revision are identical to thosefor filing a permit application. If,however, an operator is not departingsignificantly from approved procedures, a

request for insignificant revision may beapproved. There are no publicparticipation requirements for aninsignificant revision, however, theinsignificant request and the approval arefiled with the other permit documents atthe county clerk’s office where they areavailable to the public. Also, an operatorrequesting a minor land use change mustconsult with the landowner of theproperty.

Incidental boundary revisions can be usedto add minor acreage, a maximum of 20acres per incidental boundary revision, toan exiting permit. As with insignificantpermit revision, there are no publicparticipation requirements, but theapproval is filed with the county clerk’soffice.

A permit must be renewed when anoriginal permit term expires and each timethe term expires and each time the termexpires thereafter so long as the permitteeconducts mining operation. A permit neednot be renewed if only reclamationoperations are being conducted. Renewalapplications must be filed with theDepartment 180 days before the permitterm expires. Citizen participationchannels for permit renewal applicationsare identical to those for filing the originalpermit application.

Notice of Violation/Cessation OrderWhen a Notice of Violation or CessationOrder is issued to a mining company, thenotice or order must be filed, along withthe inspection report, with the countyclerk as part of the public record.

A Notice of Violation is written when aninspector finds a violation that does notcreate an imminent danger to public health


or safety or to the environment. ACessation Order is issued to stop operationof the part of a mine that is causing animminent danger.

When a Notice of Violation or CessationOrder has been issued, formal review maybe requested within 30 days by thecompany or anyone who is or may beadversely affected by the issuance,modification, vacation or termination ofsuch notice or order.

Upon the receipt of a timely request foradministrative review of a notice or order,a pre-hearing conference will bescheduled. Subsequent to the pre-hearingconference, a formal administrativehearing will be scheduled.

Within 30 days after the close of thehearing record, the hearing officer mustissue a proposed decision on the hearingrequest consisting of findings of fact andconclusions of law. Parties may then filewritten exceptions with the Director.

Any party to the administrative reviewproceeding may appeal the Department’sfinal administrative decision to circuitcourt in accordance with theAdministrative Review Law.

If mining is stopped under a Notice ofViolation or a Cessation of Mining Order,informal review (an informal publichearing) may be held. The hearing mustbe conducted promptly by the Department.

This allows a quick review of theoperator’s situation when mine closure isthreatened imminently. Notice of theinformal hearing must be given to theoperator and anyone who filed a reportleading to the cessation of mining. Notice

must also be posted at the Department’sfield office nearest the mine site and whenpracticable, published in a localnewspaper.

Within five days after the close of theinformal public hearing, the Departmentmust affirm, modify or vacate the noticeor order in writing. Parties not satisfiedwith the decision may pursue formalreview.

Pending completion of formal or informalreview, and operator may requesttemporary injunctive relief from anynotice or order and its provisions. Unlessthe time limits are waived, the Departmentmust reach a decision within five days ofreceipt of the request if mining wasordered to be stopped.

Relief may be granted if: (1) a hearing washeld on the request in the area wheremining takes place; (2) the outcome of thereview will likely favor the applicant; and(3) relief will cause no harm to publichealth or safety or the environment. Thepermittee or any affected person may seekjudicial review of the Department’s finaltemporary relief decision in accordancewith the Administrative Review Law.

The operator also has 15 days from theissuance of a Notice of Violation or aCessation Order to submit information tothe Department that may lessen the fine.Within 30 days of issuing the notice ororder, the Department must assess thefine.

The operator must pay the fine within 30days of receiving the assessment. If theoperator requests a hearing, the fine willbe placed into an escrow account pendingthe outcome of the proceedings.


If a hearing is held, the Department maythereafter affirm, vacate or modify thepenalty. Such decision may be appealedto circuit court in accordance with theAdministrative Review Law.

Permit SuspensionIf a pattern of willful violations exists ata mining operation, the Department canissue a Show-Cause Order to require thecompany to explain why its permit and theright to mine should not be revoked.

When a Show-Cause Order is issued,notice of such order must be posted at theDepartment’s field office closest to theoperation and published in a newspaper ofgeneral circulation in the area.

The person to whom a Show-Cause Orderis issued has 30 days after its issuance inwhich to file and answer and request ahearing. Notice of show cause hearings isgiven to all parties. The notice also isposted at the Department’s office closestto the operation and, where practicable,published in a newspaper circulating in thearea of the operation.

If the operator fails to file a timely answeror request a hearing on a Show-CauseOrder, the permit can be suspended orrevoked. The Department’s decision tosuspend or revoke a permit may beappealed in accordance with theAdministrative Review Law.

If the right to mine is suspended, theoperator must abate all violations andunlawful practices as specified in thesuspension order. If a permit is revoked,reclamation must be completed by theoperator as ordered by the Department.(See Chapter V, Inspection andEnforcement.)

Should the operator fail to comply with aShow-Cause Order, bond forfeitureproceedings are initiated to provide theDepartment with funds to completereclamation.

Citizen’s Request for State InspectionA citizen may request a state inspection byfurnishing to the Department a signedwritten statement (or an oral reportfollowed by a signed written statementgiving the authorized representative of theDepartment reason to believe that aviolation exists at a mine site. The requestmust include a phone number and theaddress where the citizen can becontacted.

The citizen has the right to requestconfidentiality or to accompany theDepartment’s authorized representativeduring the inspection of the mine site.

If a state inspection is made as a result ofthe supplied information, a written reportwill be sent to the citizen as well as themine operator within 10 days of theinspection detailing any enforcementaction being taken.

If no inspection results from the citizen’srequest, the Department is required toissue the citizen a written explanationwithin 15 days of receipt of the writtenrequest.

Any person who is or may be adverselyaffected by a coal exploration or surfacecoal mining and reclamation operationmay ask the Director to review informallyan authorized representative’s decisionnot to inspect or take appropriateenforcement action with respect to theviolation alleged in the citizens’ requestfor state inspection. The request for


review must be in writing and mustinclude a statement of how the person is ormay be adversely affected and why thedecision merits review.

The Department must inform the person inwriting of the results of the informalreview within 30 days of receipt of therequest.

A citizen not satisfied with the results ofinformal review may pursue civil action inaccordance with Section 8.05 of the StateAct. Additionally, any person having aninterest which is or may be adverselyaffected by the issuance, modification,vacation or termination of a Notice ofViolation or Cessation Order may applyfor review of the notice or order within 30days after receipt. The review processmust include an opportunity for a publichearing.

Also, a citizen can report a violation toOSM and request a federal inspection. IfOSM believes the State has not handledthe citizens’ request for state inspection incompliance with the state’s approvedprogram, it may order a federal inspectionand initiate federal enforcement action.Informal and formal review of OSM’sdecisions may be made as well.

Finally, anyone adversely affected by asurface coal mining and reclamationoperation may also notify the Departmentin writing of failure to make adequateperiodic inspections. Within 15 days theDepartment must determine if inspectionsare being conducted in accordance withthe regulations. If noncompliance isfound, a state inspection must beconducted immediately. The citizen mustalso be furnished a written statement of

the determination and actions to be takento remedy the noncompliance.

Pre-Blasting or Condition SurveyAt least 30 days before blasting in apermit area, the operator shall notify allresidents or owners of structures locatedwithin one-half mile of the permit areahow to request a pre-blasting or conditionsurvey.

A condition survey is identical to a pre-blasting survey, but is conducted after thestart of blasting. Any surveys requestedmore than 10 days prior to the scheduledbeginning of blasting shall be completedby the operator before the start of blasting.

Upon written request to the Departmentand the mine operator by a resident orowner of a dwelling or other structure thatis located within one-half mile of thepermitted area or by the owner of adwelling or structure between one-halfmile and one mile of the blasting area andwithin an area determined by theDepartment to be appropriate in aparticular situation, the mine operatorshall promptly conduct a pre-blasting orcondition survey of the dwelling orstructure.

The survey shall determine the conditionof the dwelling or structure and documentany pre-blasting or existing damage andother physical factors that couldreasonably be affected by blasting. Awritten report shall be prepared and copiesof the report shall be provided to theperson requesting the survey and to theDepartment within 30 days of the date thesurvey was conducted.

Condition of a structure may bedocumented by written descriptions,


photographs or other methods that indicatethe location and severity of cracks. Wellsand cisterns must also be checked. Areport on the survey must be filed with therequestor and the Department within 30days of when the survey was conducted.

If an individual disagrees with the resultsof the survey, notification of the areas ofdisagreement may be made in writing tothe operator and the Department.

The pre-blast or condition survey isimportant in documenting any damage tostructures which may occur duringmining.

An operator must meet air blast andground vibration limits and containflyrock within the permit area.

If a citizen believes any of theserequirements has been violated, theoccurrence should be reported to theDepartment and an inspection requested.The company must make blasting recordsavailable for citizen inspection.

Audible warning schedules must beadhered to and the meaning of signalsexplained by the operator to everyoneresiding or working within one-half mileof the blasting area, via the blastingnotice.

An individual who believes an operatormay be in violation of ground vibration orair blast limits may request a seismographfrom the Department to monitor blasts onhis property.

The Department maintains and operatesthe seismograph as a public service and asan independent means of checking ground

vibration and air blast level compliance bythe operator.

Damages believed to be incurred must besought directly from the company orthrough litigation.

Performance Bond ReleaseTo obtain release of performance bond, acoal company must submit an applicationto the Department for each phase ofreclamation and publish notice in a localnewspaper once a week for fourconsecutive weeks. The notice shallcontain the location of the release requestarea, the number of acres requested and asummary of the reclamation performed.

The notice must also state that writtencomments, objections and requests for apublic hearing on the application for bondrelease may be made by anyone adverselyaffected. An address for filing objectionsand requests with the Department must begiven along with a statement that theymust be filed within 30 days of the lastnotice.

The coal company shall also send lettersto owners of adjoining property, localgovernmental agencies, planning agencies,sewage and water treatment authoritiesand water companies in the locality inwhich the mining operation took place,notifying them of the intention to seekrelease from the bond.

The Department must conduct an on-siteinspection of the release request areawithin 30 days of receipt of theapplication for bond release, or as soonafter as weather permits. The surfaceowner or lessee may participate.


If a hearing is requested, it must be heldwithin 30 days of the request and notice ofthe hearing shall be published in a localnewspaper for two weeks prior to thehearing. Hearing proceedings arerecorded and maintained for public access.

The Department shall issue its decision onthe release application within 30 days ofthe hearing if a hearing is held or within60 days of the filing of the releaseapplication if no hearing is held.

The permittee or any affected person mayrequest judicial review of theDepartment’s decision in accordance withthe Administrative Review Law.

Regulation ChangesAny person can file a written petition withthe Director of the Department to amend,adopt or repeal any rule under the StateAct. The petition must include a concisestatement of the facts, technicaljustification and law which requireissuance, amendment or repeal of aregulation under the State Act and mustindicate whether the petitioner desires apublic hearing.

The Director must determine if thepetition presents a reasonable basis forissuance, amendment or repeal of aregulation. Within 90 days after receipt ofa petition, the Department must initiate arulemaking proceeding or deny thepetition with a written explanation.

Before the adoption, amendment or repealof any rule, the Department must give 45days notice beginning with publication ofthe text of the proposed rule, amendmentor repealer, the authorizing statutecitation, a description of the subject and

issues involved, and the manner in whichcomments may be presented.

Notice of any rulemaking must be made inthe Illinois Register in accordance with theIllinois Administrative Procedure Act.Also, anyone who has filed a request withthe Department for advance notice ofrulemaking proceedings must be notified.

Any interested person may submit oral orwritten data, views, arguments orcomments on the proposed rulemakingduring the first notice period. Ifrequested, the Department must hold apublic hearing before a rule is adopted,amended or repealed. After the hearing, aresponse to each comment is made by theDepartment, and a second notice ofrulemaking is filed with the State’s JointCommittee on Administrative Rules.

If the committee finds no objection to therule, it can be adopted at the conclusion ofthe second notice period. All Departmentrules are on file with the Secretary of Stateand published in the I l linoisAdministrative Code.

Civil ActionAny person having an interest that is ormay be adversely affected can commencea civil action on his own behalf to compelcompliance with the State Act against anygovernmental agency which is alleged tobe in violation of the State Act orregulations.

A person intending to initiate this type ofcivil action must give the Department 60days written notice in accordance with 62Ill. Adm. Code 1700.13 before initiatingthe action. If the state is diligentlypursuing a civil action to requirecompliance, a citizen suit cannot be


initiated. If the action complained ofconstitutes an imminent threat to thehealth or safety of the plaintiff or wouldimmediately affect a legal interest of theplaintiff, the civil action may be broughtimmediately after notification to theDepartment.

The court may award costs of litigation,including attorney and expert witness fees,to any party to a civil action depending onthe importance of the proceeding and theparticipation of the party in effectiveenforcement of the State Act.

Any person who is injured or propertydamaged through violation of the law orregulations may seek damages, includingreasonable attorney and expert witnessfees. Any action must be brought in thecounty in which the mining operation islocated, and the Department mayintervene.

Petition for CostsAny person may file a petition for costsand expenses reasonably incurred as aresult of the person’s participation in anadministrative proceeding under the StateAct that results in a final order beingissued by the Department.

The petition must be filed within 45 daysof the order and must include the name ofthe person from whom costs are soughtand a detailed affidavit setting forth anaccounting of costs and receipts or otherevidence of the expenses.

When attorney fees are claimed, thepetition must contain evidence concerninghours spent on the case, the customarycommercial rate in the area and theexperience and reputation of the attorney.The petition must be answered in 30 days.

An award of costs and expenses may bemade from a permittee to an individualwho initiates administrative review of anenforcement action and shows that aviolation occurred or an imminent dangerexisted.

Also, an award may be made from apermittee to anyone who makes asubstantial contribution to a full and fairdetermination of issues in any proceeding.An award may be made from theDepartment to a permittee if it can beshown an enforcement measure wasissued in bad faith or to harass orembarrass the permittee.

An award may be made from anindividual to a permittee and/or theDepartment if it can be shown the personinitiated and enforcement reviewproceeding in bad faith or to harass orembarrass the permittee or theDepartment.

Intervention and DiscoveryAny person, including the state, maypetition to intervene in or become a formalparty to any proceeding under the StateAct. The petitioner must show why hisinterest is or may be adversely affected.

The Department must grant intervenerstatus where an individual has thestatutory right to initiate the proceeding orwhen that individual may be adverselyaffected by the outcome of the proceeding.

Lacking these criteria, in grantingintervention the Department must considerthe nature of the issues involved, whetherexisting parties to the proceedingrepresent the petitioner’s interests, theability of the petitioner to present relevantargument and evidence, and the effect of


intervention on the Department’simplementation of its statutory mandate.

Any party to an administrative hearingmay use discovery methods to substantiatea case. Discovery methods include oraland written depositions, writteninterrogatories, subpoena of documents orthings, inspection of real estate andrequests for admissions. The hearingofficer may limit the scope and manner ofdiscovery conducted in a particularproceeding.

Failure to comply with discovery rules ororders can result in, among other things,dismissal of the action and punitivemeasures against the disobedient party.

Lands Unsuitable for MiningAny person having an interest which is ormay be adversely affected may petitionunder the state regulations to have an areanot presently being mined declaredunsuitable for mining, or to have anexisting unsuitable designationterminated.

A petition for unsuitable designation mustinclude, at a minimum, the petitioner’sname, address, telephone number, how thepetitioner’s interest is or may be adverselyaffected, the location and size of the areainvolved, allegations of fact andsupporting evidence establishing that thearea is unsuitable for mining, and adescription or supporting evidence of howmining would adversely affect the publicor natural resources.

In presenting allegations and supportingevidence to establish that an area isunsuitable for mining, one must gearinformation to at least one of the statecriteria used by the Department to decide

whether an area should receive thisdesignation.

According to state criteria, an area must bedeclared unsuitable for mining ifreclamation is not technologically andeconomically feasible. In addition, thearea may be declared unsuitable formining if operations would:

• Be incompatible with existingstate or local land use plans orprograms.

• Affect fragile or historic landsand damage important historic,cultural, scientific, or estheticvalues or natural systems.

• Affect renewable resource landand result in a substantial lossor reduction of long-rangeproductivity of water supply orof food or fiber products.

• Affect natural hazard lands,endangering life and propertyand lands subject to frequentflooding and of unstablegeology.

When the information required by theDepartment’s regulations at 62 Ill. Adm.Code 1764.13 has been provided in thepetition, the Department may declare thepetition complete, and a 12-month periodfor fact gathering and public commentbegins.

There are several instances, however,when processing a petition may bedelayed or precluded. The petitioner mustbe notified in these instances.

A petition cannot be considered if it isreceived after the first newspaper has beenrun for a permit application on the samearea.


Frivolous or incomplete petitions will bereturned to the petitioner.

Once a petition has bee declared complete,any person may petition to intervene in theproceeding, either supporting or opposingthe petition, by filing allegations of facts,supporting evidence, and the person’sname, address and telephone number.Intervention is possible until three daysbefore a public hearing is held on thepetition.

Within three weeks after determining thepetition is complete, the Department mustcirculate copies and request relevantinformation from the petitioner,intervener, property owners and interestedgovernment agencies. The general publicmust also be notified by newspaperadvertisement in the region covered by thepetition once a week for two consecutiveweeks.

A complete petition must immediately besent to the appropriate office within IDNRfor preparation of a land report. IDNRmust evaluate the effects of mining onnatural resources in the area under thestate criteria used by the Department fordesignating lands unsuitable.

The report must also include informationdetailing the potential resources of thearea, the economy, the impact ofunsuitable designation on the environmentand the supply and demand for coal.

The land report must be completed notlater that eight months after a request forits preparation and must be available tothe public for review at least 30 daysbefore a public hearing on the petition.

IDNR must distribute copies of the landreport to the petitioner, intervener, theoperator, the county clerk, OMM, eachoffice of the Department and to personswho have requested a copy. A draft landreport may be made available by IDNRfor a 30-day written comment period priorto IDNR’s distribution of the final landreport.

Written comments on the final land reportmay be filed with the Department untilthree days before the public hearing.Comments should be geared to the statecriteria for determining if an area shouldbe declared unsuitable for mining.

IDNR must develop a data base and aninventory system of the natural resourcesin areas covered by petitions. The systemincludes information on coal resourcesand supply and demand, as well asinformation from other governmentagencies such as the U.S. Fish andWildlife Service, the State HistoricPreservation Officer and the Clean Air Actadministrator. This information isavailable to the public from IDNR.

A public hearing must be held within 10months after a petition has been declaredcomplete. A public hearing is waivedonly if all parties and interveners agree itis not needed.

Notice of the time, date and place of thepublic hearing must be sent by certifiedmail to petitioners and interveners and byregular mail to all other interested parties.The notice must also give the locationswhere the land report may be inspected.

The general public must be notified of thehearing by newspaper advertisement in thearea during the fourth and fifth weeks


before the hearing date and during theweek prior to the hearing. In addition,prior to a hearing, a petition may bewithdrawn if all petitioners andinterveners agree.

The public hearing itself is adjudicatory innature and provides for presentation ofdata, subpoena of witnesses and testimonyby the petitioner and intervening parties.An opportunity for persons who are notparties to the petition also is provided topresent factual information, views oropinions.

Individuals may be represented by legalcounsel. Testimony presented at thehearing is subject to questioning andcross-examination by the Department, thepetitioner and intervener.

A final decision on the unsuitabilitypetition must be made by the Departmentwithin 60 days after the close of the publichearing record. If no public hearing isheld, then the decision must be made 12months after receipt of a completepetition.

The Department may decide to designatethe petitioned areas as unsuitable in wholeor in part, not to designate the petitionedarea as unsuitable, or to place conditionson future operations that would mitigateadverse impacts.

In making its decision, the Departmentmust use information in the data base andinventory system, information provided byother government agencies, the land reportand any other relevant informationsubmitted during comment periods.

Notification of the decision must be sentby certified mail to the petitioner and

intervener and by regular mail to otherparties to the proceeding and to OSM Thedecision is subject to judicial review inaccordance with the AdministrativeReview Law. (735 ILCS 5/301 through5/3-112.)

A petition that has been unsuccessful inobtaining an unsuitable for miningdesignation for an are may be resubmittedto the Department. However, if the newpetition does no present significant newallegations of fact with supportingevidence, the Department will notconsider the petition, and it will bereturned to the petitioner.

The petition process may also be used tohave an unsuitable designation terminated.The petitioner must include in the petitionthe size and location of the area andfactual evidence detailing how naturalresources in the area would no longer beaffected by mining. This factual evidencemust be presented according to statecriteria for designating lands unsuitablefor mining.

Finally, once an area has been designatedunsuitable for mining, coal explorationoperations may be conducted if done inaccordance with the State Act and theDepartment’s regulations.


Acid drainage - water with a PH of lessthan 6.0 and in which total acidity exceedstotal alkalinity, discharged from an active,inactive or abandoned surface mine andreclamation operation or from an areaaffected by surface coal mining andreclamation operations.

Acid-forming materials - earthenmaterials that contain sulfide minerals orother materials which, if exposed to air,water or weather processes, form acidsthat may create acid drainage.

Adjacent area - land located eitheroutside the permit area or shadow area,depending on the context in whichadjacent area is used, where air, surface orgroundwater, fish, wildlife, vegetation orother resources protected by the State Actmay be adversely impacted by surfacecoal mining and reclamation operations.

Affected area - with respect to surfacemining activities, any land or water uponor in which those activities are conductedor located. With respect to undergroundmining activities, affected area means anywater or surface land upon which thoseactivities are conducted or located.

Agricultural use - the use of any tract ofland for the production of animal orvegetable life. The uses include but arenot limited to the pasturing, grazing andwatering of livestock, and the cropping,cultivating and harvesting of plants.

Applicant - any person seeking a permitfrom the Department to conduct surfacecoal mining and reclamation operations

pursuant to the state program, or in thecase of coal exploration, a person whoseeks to obtain exploration approval.

Application - the documents and otherinformation filed with the Department,under regulations and the regulatoryprogram for the issuance of explorationapproval or a coal mining permit.

Approximate original contour - thatsurface configuration achieved bybackfilling and grading of the mined areasso that the reclaimed area, including anyterracing or access roads, closelyresembles the general surfaceconfiguration of the land prior to miningand blends into and complements thedrainage pattern of the surroundingterrain, with all highwalls, spoil piles andcoal refuse piles eliminated. Permanentwater impoundments may be permittedwhere the Department has determined thatthey comply with the regulations.

Box cut - the first open cut that results inthe placing of overburden on unminedland adjacent to the initial pit andnormally outside of the area to be mined.

Carbon recovery - the reprocessing ofcoal waste, gob and slurry, to extract thecarbon or coal remaining.

Coal - combustible carbonaceous rock,classified as anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous or lignite.

Coal exploration - the field gathering of:(a) surface or subsurface geologic,physical or chemical data by mapping,trenching, drilling, geophysical or othertechniques necessary to determine thequality and quantity of overburden andcoal of an area or (b) the gathering of



environmental data to establish theconditions of an area before beginningsurface coal mining and reclamationoperations under the requirements of theregulations.

Coal mining operation - the business ofdeveloping, producing, preparing orloading bituminous coal, sub-bituminouscoal, anthracite or lignite, or of reclaimingthe areas upon which such activities occur.

Coal processing plant - a collection offacilities where run-of-the-mine coal issubjected to chemical or physicalprocessing and separated from itsimpurities.

Coal processing waste (gob and slurry)-combustible, physically unstable, acid-forming or toxic-forming materials thatare separated from coal during processing.

Coal reserves - 44 billion tons of Illinoiscoal resources and 6 billion tons of coalresources that have a high potential forunderground mining and surface miningrespectively. (ISGS Circ. 504.527)

Combustible material - organic materialcapable of burning, either by fire orthrough oxidation, in the presence of heatand a significant temperature rise.

Compaction - increasing the density of amaterial by reducing the voids betweenthe particles from repeated application ofwheel, tract or roller loads from heavyequipment.

Department - the Illinois Department ofNatural Resources, Office of Mines andMinerals, the regulatory authority forsurface mining and reclamation operationsin Illinois.

Diversion - a channel, embankment orother man-made structure constructed todivert water from one area to another.

Federal Act - the Surface Mining Controland Reclamation Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-87).

Final cut - the last pit created in a surface-mined area.

Fragile lands - geographic areascontaining important natural, ecological,scientific or esthetic resources that couldbe significantly damaged or destroyed bysurface coal mining operation. Examplesof fragile lands include valuable habitatsfor fish or wildlife, critical habitats forendangered or threatened species ofanimals or plants, uncommon geologicformations, National Natural Landmarksites, areas where mining may causeflooding, environmental corridorscontaining a concentration of ecologic andesthetic features, areas of recreationalvalue due to high environmental qualityand buffer zones adjacent to theboundaries of areas where surface coalmining operations are prohibited underSection 522 (e) of the Federal Act and Part1761 of the State regulation.Groundwater - subsurface water that fillsavailable openings in rock or soilmaterials to the extent that they areconsidered water saturated.

High-capability land - land other thanprime farmland that the regulatoryauthority determines is capable (1) ofbeing reclaimed for row crop agriculturalpurposes based on U.S. Natural ResourcesConservation Service soil surveyclassifications of the affected land prior tomining; and (2) of having the optimum


future use is for row crop agriculturalpurposes.

Historically used for Cropland - (1)lands that have been used for cropland forany five years or more out of the 10 yearsimmediately preceding the acquisition,including purchase, lease or option, of thelands for the purpose of conducting orallowing through resale, lease or option,the conduct of surface coal mining andreclamation operations; (b) lands that theDepartment determines, on the basis ofadditional cropland history of thesurrounding lands and the lands underconsideration, that the permit area isclearly cropland but falls outside thespecific 5 years-in-10 criterion, in whichcase the regulations for prime farmlandmay be applied to include more years ofcropland history only to increase the primefarmland acreage to be preserved; or (3)lands that would likely have been used ascropland for any five out of the last 10years, immediately preceding suchacquisition but for the same fact ofownership or control of the land unrelatedto the productivity of the land.

Historic lands - important historic orcultural districts, places, structure orobjects, including archaeological andpaleontological sites, National HistoricLandmark sites, sites listed on a State orNational Register of Historic Places, siteshaving religious or cultural significance tonative Americans or religious groups orsites for which historic designation ispending.

Hydrologic balance - the relationshipbetween the quality and quantity of waterinflow to, water outflow from and waterstorage in a hydrologic unit such as adrainage basin, aquifer, soil zone, lake or

reservoir. It encompasses the dynamicrelationships among precipitation, runoff,evaporation and changes ground andsurface water storage.

Imminent danger to the health andsafety of the public - the existence of anycondition or practice, or any violation of apermit or other requirements of the Act ina surface coal mining and reclamationoperation, which could reasonably beexpected to cause substantial physicalharm to persons outside the permit areabefore the condition, practice or violationcan be abated.

Impoundment - a closed basin, naturallyformed or artificially built, which isdammed or excavated for the retention ofwater, sediment or waste.

Interagency Committee - the Interagencycommittee on Surface Mining Control andReclamation created by the State Act.

Land capability - the soil’s physical andchemical potential and limits for sustainedproduction of common cultivated crops orfor the production of permanentvegetation. Premining land capabilitiesare based on the NRCS classificationsystem (USDA Agriculture Handbook No.210) and are interpreted from the soilsmap.

Land use - specific uses or management-related activities, rather than thevegetation or cover of the land. Land usesmay be identified in combination whenjoint or seasonal uses occur. Changes ofland use or uses from one of the followingcategories to another are consideredchanges to alternative land uses which aresubject to approval by the Department.


(a) cropland-land used for theproduction of adapted crops forharvest, alone or in rotation withgrasses and legumes, and includesrow crops, small grain crops, haycrops, nursery crops, orchard cropsand other similar specialty crops.Land use for facilities in support ofcropland farming operations whichis adjacent to or an integral part ofthese operations is also included forpurposes of these land usecategories. (b) Pasture land or landoccasionally cut for hayland usedprimarily for the long-termproduction of adapted, domesticatedforage plants to be grazed byLivestock or occasionally cut andcured for livestock feed. Land usedfor facilities in support of pastureland or land occasionally cut for haythat is adjacent to or an integral partof these operations is also included.

(c) Grazing land - includes bothgrasslands and forest lands wherethe indigenous vegetation is activelymanaged for grazing, browsing oroccasional hay production. Landused for facilities in support ofranching operations that are adjacentto or an integral part of theseoperations also is included.

(d) Forestry - land used ormanaged for the long-termproduction of wood, wood fiber orwood derived products. Land usedfor facilities in support of forestharvest and management operationsthat is adjacent to or an integral partof these operations is also included.

(e) Residential - includes single andmultiple-family housing, mobilehome parks and other residentiallodgings. Land used for facilities insupport of residential operations thatis adjacent to or an integral part ofthese operations also is included.Support facilities include, but arenot limited to, vehicle parking andopen space that directly relate to theresidential use.

(f) Industrial/commercial-landused for:

(1) extraction ortransformation of materials forfabrication of products,wholesaling of products or forlong term storage of products.This includes all heavy andlight manufacturing facilities,such as lumber and woodp r o c e s s i n g , c h e m i c a lmanufacturing, petroleumrefining and fabricated metalproducts manufacture. Landused for facilities in support ofthese operations which isadjacent to or an integral part ofthat operation is also included.Support facilities include, butare not limited to, all rail, roadand other transportationfacilities.

(2) retail or trade of goods orservices including hotels,motels, stores, restaurants ando t h e r c o m m e r c i a lestablishments. Land used forfacilities in support ofcommercial operations that isadjacent to or an integral part ofthese operations also is


included. Support facilitiesinclude, but are not limited to,parking, storage or shippingfacilities.

(g) Recreation - land used forpublic or private leisure time use,including developed recreationfacilities such as parks, camps andamusement areas, as well as areasfor less intensive uses such ashiking, canoeing and otherunderdeveloped recreational uses.

(h) Fish and wildlife habitat-landdedicated wholly or partially to theproduct ion , p ro t ec ti on ormanagement of species of fish orwildlife.

(i) Developed water resources-includes land used for storing waterfor beneficial uses such as stockponds, irrigation, fire protection,flood control and water supply.

(j) Undeveloped land or nocurrent use or land management-land that is undeveloped, or, ifpreviously developed, land that hasbeen allowed to return naturally toan undeveloped state or has beenallowed to return to forest throughnatural succession.

NRCS - United States Natural ResourcesConservation Service.

Natural hazards lands - geographic areasin which natural conditions exist that poseor, a s a result of surface coal miningoperations, may pose a threat to the health,safety or welfare of people, property or theenvironment, including areas subject toland slides, cave-ins, large or encroaching

sand dunes, severe wind or soil erosion,frequent flooding, avalanches and areas ofunstable geology.

Operator - any person engaged in coalmining who removes or intends to removemore than 250 tons of coal from the earthor from coal refuse piles by mining within12 consecutive calendar months in anyone location, or any person engaged incoal mining, to include politicalsubdivisions, units of local governmentand instrumentalities of the State ofIllinois and public utilities.

OSM - U.S. Office of Surface MiningReclamation and Enforcement.

Performance bond - a surety bond,collateral bond or self-bond or acombination by which a permittee insuresfaithful performance of all therequirements of the Federal Act, the StateAct and regulations and requirements ofthe permit and reclamation plan.

Permit - a permit to conduct surface coalmining and reclamation operations issuedby the Department under the Stateprogram.

Permit area - the area of land and waterwithin the boundaries of the permit thatare designated on the permit applicationmaps, as approved by the Department.This area shall include all areas that are orwill be affected by the surface coal miningand reclamation operations during theterm of the permit.

Prime farmland - those lands defined bythe U.S. Secretary of Agriculture thathistorically have been used for cropland.


Reclamation - as required by regulations,actions taken to restore mined land to apost-mining land use approved by theDepartment.

Regulatory program - any approved stateor federal program.

Renewable resource lands - aquifers andareas for the recharge of aquifers and otherunderground waters, areas for agriculturalor silvicultural production of food andfiber and grazing lands.

Row crops - typical agricultural cropssuch as corn, soybeans and wheat.

Sedimentation pond - a primary sedimentcontrol structure designed, constructedand maintained in accordance withregulations and including but not limitedto a barrier, dam or excavated depressionthat slows down water runoff to allowsediment to settle out.

Shadow area - any area beyond the limitsof the permit area in which undergroundmine workings are located. This areaincludes all resources above and below thecoal that are protected by the State Actthat may be adversely impacted byunderground mining operations includingimpacts of subsidence.

SOAP - The Small Operators’ AssistanceProgram is Federally funded and Stateadministered to assist coal mine operatorswho produce less that 300,000 tons of coalannually in determining the probablehydrologic consequences and statement oftest bores required for a coal mine permitapplication under the State Act.Information includes sample collectionand analysis of overburden strata andcollection and evaluation of existing

surface and groundwater conditions. Datais collected through a qualified laboratory.

Soil horizons - contrasting layers of soilparallel or nearly parallel to the landsurface. The three major soil horizons are:

(a) A horizon - the uppermostmineral layer, often called thesurface soil, is the part of the soil inwhich organic matter and leachingof suspended particles is typicallythe greatest.

(b) B horizon - the layer thattypically is immediately beneath theA horizon often called the subsoil,which commonly contains moreclay, iron or aluminum than the A orC horizons.

(c) C horizon - the deepest layer ofsoil profile consisting of loosematerial or weathered rockthat is relatively unaffected bybiologic activity.

Soil survey - a field and otherinvestigation resulting in a map showingthe geographic distribution of differentkinds of soils and accompanying reportthat describes, classifies and interpretssuch soils for use. Soil surveys must meetthe standards of the National CooperativeSoil Survey.

Slope - average inclination of a surfacemeasured from the horizontal, generallyexpressed as the ratio of a unit of verticaldistance to a given number of units ofhorizontal distance.

Spoil - overburden that has been removedduring surface coal mining operations.


Stabilize - to control movement of soil,spoil piles or areas of disturbed earth bymodifying the mass or by modifyingphysical or chemical properties as inproviding a protective surface coating.

State Act - the Illinois Surface CoalMining Land Conservation andReclamation Act (225 ILCS 720)

State program - a program established bythe state and approved by the Secretary ofthe Interior pursuant to Section 503 of theFederal Act to regulate surface coalmining and reclamation operations onnon-Indian and non-federal lands.

Strippable coal resources and reserves -of Illinois’ 181 billion tons of coalresources, around 20 billion tons areconsidered potentially strippable andconstitute Illinois strippable coalresources. Around 6 billion tons have ahigh potential for surface mining,economically and legally, and constituteIllinois strippable coal reserves. (ISGSCir. 504)

Surface Mining Advisory Council - thegroup of citizens, educators, governmentand industry representatives formed toadvise the Department on surface miningand land reclamation issues and tomonitor enforcement of reclamationprograms. The body meets a minimum ofthree times per year. Members arenonsalaried and are appointed by theGovernor with the advise and consent ofthe Illinois State Senate.

Surface mining operations -

(a) activities conducted on thesurface of lands in connection with asurface coal mine or surface

operations. Such activities includeexcavation for the purpose ofobtaining coal including suchcommon methods at contour, strip,auger, mountain top removal, boxcut, open pit and area mining, coalrecovery from coal waste disposalareas, the use of explosives andblasting; and in situ distillation orretorting, leaching or other chemicalor physical processing, and thecleaning, concentrating or otherprocessing or preparation, loading ofcoal at or near the mine site, and

(b) the areas on which suchactivities occur or where suchactivities disturb the natural landsurface. Such areas include anyadjacent land the use of which isincidental to any such activities, alllands affected by the construction ofnew roads or the improvement oruse of existing roads to gain accessto the site of such activities and forhaulage and excavations, workings,impoundments, dams, refuse banks,dumps, stock-piles, overburdenpiles, spoil banks, culm banks,tailings, holes or depressions, repairareas, storage areas, processingareas, shipping areas and otherareas, upon which are sitedstructures, facilities or otherproperty or materials on the surface,resulting from or incident to suchactivities.

Suspended solids (milligrams per liter) -organic or inorganic materials carried orheld in suspension in water that areretained by a standard glass fiber filter inthe procedure outlined by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency’sregulations for waste water and analysis.


Temporary relief - a request made by theaffected party to a legal action to relievethat party from a portion of the actionuntil completion of the review process. Inpermit denial proceedings, temporaryrelief cannot consist of a request that thepermit be issued.

Topsoil - the A (upper) soil horizon layerof the three major soil horizons.

Toxic-forming materials - earthenmaterials or waste acted on by air, water,weathering or microbial processes, toproduce chemically or physicallydamaging conditions to biota in soils orwater.

Underground mining activities - theunderground excavation of coal and (a)surface operations incident to theunderground extraction of coal, such asconstruction, use, maintenance andreclamation of roads, above ground repairareas, storage areas, processing areas,shipping areas, areas on which supportfacilities, equipment storage areas, and (b)underground operations incident tounderground excavation of coal, such asunderground construction, operation andreclamation of shafts, adits, undergroundsupport facilities, in situ processing andunderground mining, hauling, storage orblasting.

U . S . E N V I R O N M E N T A LPROTECTION AGENCY - UnitedStates Environmental Protection Agency