TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

TITLE 3. OIL AND GAS

SUBTITLE A. ADMINISTRATION

CHAPTER 131. URANIUM SURFACE MINING AND RECLAMATION ACT

SUBCHAPTER B. POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION



§ 131.021. GENERAL AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION.
     In seeking to accomplish the purposes of this chapter, the commission shall have the authority:
          (1) to adopt and amend rules pertaining to surface mining and reclamation operations consistent with the general intent and purposes of this chapter;
          (2) to issue permits pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
          (3) to conduct hearings pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
          (4) to issue orders requiring an operator to take actions that are necessary to comply with this chapter and with rules adopted under this chapter;
          (5) to issue orders modifying previous orders;
          (6) to issue a final order revoking the permit of an operator who has failed to comply with an order of the commission to take action required by this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter;
          (7) to order the immediate cessation of an ongoing surface mining operation if the commission finds that the operation creates an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, or is causing or can reasonably be expected to cause significant imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources, and to take other action or make changes in a permit that are reasonably necessary to avoid or alleviate these conditions;
          (8) to hire employees, adopt standards for employment of these persons, and hire and authorize the hiring of outside contractors to assist in carrying out the requirements of this chapter;
          (9) to enter on and inspect, in person or by its agents, a surface mining operation that is subject to the provisions of this chapter to assure compliance with the terms of this chapter;
          (10) to conduct, encourage, request, and participate in studies, surveys, investigations, research, experiments, training, and demonstrations by contract, grant, or otherwise;
          (11) to prepare and require permittees to prepare reports;
          (12) to collect and disseminate to the public information considered reasonable and necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter;
          (13) to accept, receive, and administer grants, gifts, loans, or other funds made available from any source for the purposes of this chapter;
          (14) to enter into contracts with state boards and agencies that have pertinent expertise to obtain professional and technical services necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter; and
          (15) to perform other duties and acts required by and provided for in this chapter.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2610, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.022. JURISDICTION OF COMMISSION.
     The commission is the mining and reclamation authority for the State of Texas and has exclusive jurisdiction for establishing reclamation requirements for mining operations in this state.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2611, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.023. COMMISSION PROCEDURE.
     The commission shall seek the accomplishment of the purposes of this chapter by all practicable methods.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2611, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.024. COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL SURFACE MINING LAWS.
     (a) On passage of federal surface mining legislation, the
      commission shall take actions necessary to establish the exclusive jurisdiction of this state over the regulation of surface mining and reclamation operations.
     (b) If the federal administrative agency disapproves the regulatory program of this state as submitted, the commission shall take all necessary and appropriate action, including making recommendations for remedial legislation, to clarify, alter, or amend the program to comply with the requirements of the federal act.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2611, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.025. HEARING PROCEDURE.
     At a hearing under this chapter, the commission may:
          (1) administer oaths or affirmations;
          (2) subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance;
          (3) take evidence; and
          (4) require production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, agreements, or other documents or records that are considered relevant or material to the administration of this chapter.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2611, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.033. DIFFERING TERMS AND PROVISIONS OF RULES.
     A rule or an amendment of a rule adopted by the commission may differ in its terms and provisions between particular conditions, particular mining techniques, particular areas of the state, or any other conditions that appear relevant and necessary so long as the action taken is consistent with attainment of the general intent and purposes of this chapter.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2612, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 305, ch. 141, § 39, eff. May 9, 1979; Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 849, ch. 379, § 1, eff. June 6, 1979.

§ 131.034. EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES.
     The commission shall promulgate rules in the manner provided in Sections 131.026 through 131.031 of this code for the conduct of exploration activities.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2613, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.035. RULES DESIGNATING UNSUITABLE LAND.
     (a) The commission shall develop rules that adopt appropriate procedures for identifying and designating land in this state as unsuitable for all or certain types of surface mining in accordance with Sections 131.036 through 131.041 of this code.
     (b) The rules shall be in sufficient detail to provide reasonable notice to prospective operators of areas that might be designated as unsuitable for surface mining.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2613, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.036. SURVEY OF LAND.
     (a) When application is made to conduct surface mining operations and before a permit is issued, the commission shall immediately have the areas to be included in the proposed permit surveyed in accordance with the requirements of Sections 131.035 and 131.037 through 131.041 of this code.
     (b) In conducting the survey and in declaring various areas to be unsuitable for mining, the commission shall employ competent and scientifically sound data and information as the basis for objective decisions with respect to each area surveyed.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2613, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.037. COMMISSION STATEMENT.
     Before designating a land area as unsuitable for surface mining operations, the commission shall prepare a detailed statement on the potential mineral and other resources in the area, the demand for these resources, and the impact of the designation on the environment, the economy, and the supply of the mineral.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2613, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.038. REASONS FOR UNSUITABLE DESIGNATION.
     After the survey is made, an area may be designated unsuitable for all or certain types of surface mining if:
          (1) the commission determines that reclamation under this chapter is not feasible;
          (2) the operations will result in significant damage to important areas of historic, cultural, or archaeological value or to important natural systems;
          (3) the operations will affect renewable resource land that includes aquifers and aquifer recharge areas, resulting in a substantial loss or reduction of long-range productivity of water supply or food or fiber products;
          (4) the operations are located in an area subject to frequent flooding or an area that is geologically unstable and may reasonably be expected to endanger life and property;
          (5) the operations will adversely affect any national park, national monument, national historic landmark, property listed on the national register of historic places, national forest, national wilderness area, national wildlife refuge, national wild and scenic river area, state park, state wildlife refuge, state forest, recorded Texas historic landmark, state historic site, state archaeological landmark, or city or county park; or
          (6) the operations would endanger any public road, public building, cemetery, school, church, or similar structure or existing dwelling outside the permit area.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2613, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.039. PETITION AND HEARING ON DESIGNATION.
     (a) Any person is entitled to petition the commission to have an area designated as unsuitable for surface mining operations or to have the designation terminated.
     (b) The petition shall include allegations of facts with supporting evidence that in the opinion of the commission would tend to establish the allegations.
     (c) The commission shall make a determination of the validity of the petition, and if the petition is found to be valid, it shall be kept on file by the commission and made available for public inspection.
     (d) On application for a surface mining permit for which a valid petition has been filed, the commission shall hold a public hearing as provided in Section 131.163 of this code in the locality of the proposed mining operation.
     (e) Any person affected may intervene before the public hearing by filing allegations of facts with supporting evidence that would tend to establish the allegations.
     (f) If all the petitioners and the applicant stipulate agreement before the requested hearing, the hearing does not have to be held.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2614, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1989, ch. 784, § 2, eff. Aug. 27, 1979.

§ 131.040. MODIFYING, AMENDING, AND TERMINATING DESIGNATIONS.
     The commission may modify, amend, or terminate a
      designation pursuant to the requirements of Sections 131.035 through 131.039 of this code.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2614, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.041. APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER.
     The provisions of Sections 131.035 through 131.040 of this code do not apply to land on which surface mining operations were being conducted on June 21, 1975.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2614, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.042. RECORDS, REPORTS, MONITORING EQUIPMENT, AND INFORMATION.
     The commission shall require each permittee to:
          (1) establish and maintain appropriate records;
          (2) make reports as frequently as the commission may prescribe;
          (3) install, use, and maintain necessary monitoring equipment for observing and determining relevant surface or subsurface effects of the mining operation and reclamation program; and
          (4) provide other information relative to mining and reclamation operations the commission determines to be reasonable and necessary.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2614, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.043. INSPECTION BY COMMISSION.
     Without advance notice and on presentation of appropriate credentials to the operation supervisor, if present, the authorized representatives of the commission are entitled to enter in, on, or through a surface mining operation or premises in which any records required under Section 131.042 of this code are located, and may at reasonable times and without delay have access to and copy any records and inspect monitoring equipment or methods of operation required under this chapter.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2614, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.044. TIME AND PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTIONS.
     (a) The inspections by the commission shall occur on an irregular basis at a frequency necessary to insure compliance with the intent and purposes of this chapter and the commission's rules for the surface mining and reclamation operations covered by each permit.
     (b) The inspections shall occur only during normal operating hours if practicable and without prior notice to the permittee or his agents or employees.
     (c) An inspection shall include the filing of an inspection report adequate to enforce the requirements of and to carry out the terms and purposes of this chapter. The commission shall make each report a part of the record and furnish one copy of the report to the operator.
     (d) Insofar as practicable, the commission shall establish a system of rotation of inspectors.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2615, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.045. SIGN.
     Each permittee shall maintain at the entrances to the surface mining and reclamation operations a clearly visible sign that sets forth the name, business address, and phone number of the permittee and the permit number of the surface mining and reclamation operations.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2615, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.046. PROCEDURE ON DETECTION OF VIOLATION.
     On detection of each violation of a requirement of this chapter, each inspector shall inform the operator of the violation orally at the time of the detection and in writing at a later time and shall report the violation in writing to the commission.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2615, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.047. JUDICIAL REVIEW.
     (a) Any party to the administrative proceedings whose interest is or may be adversely affected by a ruling, order, decision, or other act of the commission may appeal by filing a petition in a district court of Travis County or in the county in which the greater portion of the land in question is located.
     (b) The plaintiff shall pursue his action with reasonable diligence, and if the plaintiff does not prosecute his action within one year after the action is filed, the court shall presume that the action has been abandoned. The court shall dismiss the suit on a motion for dismissal made by the attorney general unless the plaintiff, after receiving due notice, can show good and sufficient cause for the delay.
     (c) The court shall hear the complaint solely on the record made before the commission. The findings of the commission, if supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole, shall be upheld.
     (d) The court may, under conditions it may prescribe, grant temporary relief that it considers appropriate pending final determination of the proceedings.
     (e) The commencement of a proceeding under this section shall not, unless specifically ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the action, order, or decision of the commission.
     (f) Repealed by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2647, ch. 707, § 4(48), eff. Aug. 31, 1981.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2615, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1989, ch. 784, § 2, eff. Aug. 27, 1979; Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2646, ch. 707, § 4(48), eff. Aug. 31, 1981.

§ 131.048. CONFIDENTIALITY.
     Information submitted to the commission concerning mineral deposits, test borings, core samplings, or trade secrets or privileged commercial or financial information relating to the competitive rights of the applicant and specifically identified as confidential by the applicant, if not essential for public review as determined by the commission, shall not be disclosed by any member, agent, or employee of the commission.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2616, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 131.049. TEMPORARY ORDERS PRIOR TO NOTICE AND HEARING.
     (a) The commission may issue temporary orders relating to
      a surface mining operation without notice and hearing, or with the notice and hearing as the commission considers practical under the circumstances, when necessary to enable action to be taken more expeditiously than is otherwise provided by this chapter to effectuate the policy and purposes of this chapter.
     (b) If the commission issues a temporary order under this authority without a hearing, and if the subject matter of the order is such as to require a public hearing under Section 131.163 of this code or under any rule of the commission, the order shall set a time and place for a public hearing to be held. The hearing shall be held as soon after the temporary order is issued as is practical.
     (c) At the hearing, the commission shall affirm, modify, or set aside the temporary order. If the nature of the commission's action requires, further proceedings shall be conducted as appropriate under provisions of Chapter 2001, Government Code.
     (d) The requirements of Sections 131.159 and 131.160 of this code relating to the time for notice, newspaper notice, and method of giving a person notice do not apply to the hearing, but general notice of the hearing shall be given that the commission considers practical under the circumstances.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 853, ch. 379, § 6, eff. June 6, 1979. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 5.95(49), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.