TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

TITLE 3. OIL AND GAS

SUBTITLE A. ADMINISTRATION

CHAPTER 134. TEXAS SURFACE COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION ACT

SUBCHAPTER F. BONDS AND DEPOSITS



§ 134.121. PERFORMANCE BOND REQUIREMENT.
     (a) After a surface coal mining and reclamation permit application has been approved but before the permit is issued, the applicant shall file with the commission, on a form prescribed and furnished by the commission, a performance bond payable to this state and conditioned on the faithful performance of the requirements of this chapter and the permit.
     (b) The bond shall cover the area of land in the permit area on which the applicant will begin and conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations during the initial term of the permit.
     (c) The permit holder shall provide an additional bond or bonds to cover a succeeding increment of surface coal mining and reclamation operations conducted in the permit area at the time the increment begins.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.122. AMOUNT OF BOND.
     (a) The commission shall determine the amount of the bond required for each bonded area.
     (b) The amount of the bond shall:
          (1) reflect the probable difficulty of the reclamation, considering factors including:
               (A) topography;
               (B) geology of the site;
               (C) hydrology; and
               (D) revegetation potential; and
          (2) be sufficient to assure completion of the reclamation plan if the commission has to perform the work in the event of forfeiture.
     (c) The bond for the entire area under one permit may not be less than $10,000.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.123. BOND WITHOUT SURETY.
     The commission may accept the bond of an applicant without separate surety if the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commission the existence of a suitable and continuous operation sufficient for authorization to self-insure or bond the amount.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.124. ALTERNATIVE TO BONDING PROGRAM.
     Instead of establishing a bonding program under this subchapter, the commission may approve an alternative system that will achieve the purposes of the bonding program under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.125. EXTENT OF LIABILITY UNDER BOND.
     Liability under the bond shall be for the duration of the surface coal mining and reclamation operation and of the applicant's responsibility for revegetation.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.126. SECURITY FOR BOND.
     (a) The applicant and a corporate surety licensed to do business in this state shall execute the bond unless the applicant elects to deposit security under Subsection (b).
     (b) The applicant may elect to deposit as security for the performance of the applicant's obligations under the bond:
          (1) cash;
          (2) negotiable bonds of the United States government or the state; or
          (3) negotiable certificates of deposit of a bank organized or transacting business in the United States.
     (c) The cash deposit or market value of the securities deposited under Subsection (b) must equal or exceed the amount of the bond required for the bonded area.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.127. ADJUSTMENT OF AMOUNT OF BOND OR DEPOSIT.
     The commission periodically shall adjust the amount of the bond or deposit required and the terms of each acceptance of the applicant's bond to reflect changes in:
          (1) the acreage affected; or
          (2) the cost of future reclamation.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.128. APPLICATION FOR RELEASE OF BOND OR DEPOSIT.
     The permit holder may file a request with the commission
      for the release of all or part of a performance bond or deposit.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.129. NOTICE.
     (a) Not later than the 30th day after the date the permit holder files with the commission an application for release of a bond or deposit, the permit holder shall submit a copy of an advertisement placed at least once a week for four consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the surface coal mining operation. The advertisement is part of a bond release application and shall:
          (1) identify the precise location of the land affected;
          (2) state the number of acres;
          (3) identify the permit and the date the permit was approved;
          (4) state the amount of the bond filed and the portion sought to be released;
          (5) describe the type and give appropriate dates of reclamation work performed; and
          (6) describe the results achieved as they relate to the permit holder's reclamation plan.
     (b) As part of a bond release application, the applicant shall submit copies of letters the applicant has sent to adjoining property owners, local governmental bodies, planning agencies, and sewage and water treatment authorities in the locality, as the commission directs, notifying them of the applicant's intention to seek release from the bond.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.130. INSPECTION AND EVALUATION.
     (a) Not later than the 30th day after the date the commission receives a request under Section 134.128 and a copy of an advertisement or letters under Section 134.129, the commission shall inspect and evaluate the reclamation work involved.
     (b) The evaluation shall consider, among other things:
          (1) the degree of difficulty in completing any remaining reclamation;
          (2) whether pollution of surface and subsurface water is occurring;
          (3) the probability that pollution will continue to occur in the future; and
          (4) the estimated cost of abating the pollution.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.131. RELEASE OF BOND OR DEPOSIT.
     (a) The commission may release part or all of the bond or deposit if the commission is satisfied that the reclamation covered by the bond or deposit or part of the reclamation has been accomplished as required by this chapter according to the schedule provided by this section.
     (b) The commission may release 60 percent of the bond or deposit for the applicable permit area if the permit holder completes the backfilling, regrading, and drainage control of a bonded area in accordance with the reclamation plan.
     (c) The commission may release part of the bond after successful revegetation has been established on the regraded mined lands in accordance with the reclamation plan. In determining the amount of the bond to be released under this subsection, the commission shall retain, for the period of permit holder responsibility specified under Section 134.092(a)(20), 134.104, or 134.105, a bond amount for the revegetated area that is sufficient for a third party to establish revegetation.
     (d) The commission may not release any of the bond or deposit under Subsection (c) if:
          (1) the land to which the release would apply is contributing suspended solids to streamflow or runoff outside the permit area in excess of the requirements of Section 134.092(a)(10); or
          (2) soil productivity for prime farmland has not returned to levels of yield equivalent to those of nonmined land of the same soil type in the surrounding area under equivalent management practices, as determined from the soil survey performed under Section 134.052(a)(16).
     (e) If a silt dam will be retained as a permanent impoundment under Section 134.092(a)(8), the commission may release the part of the bond authorized by Subsection (c) after provisions for sound future maintenance have been made with the commission.
     (f) The commission may release the remaining part of the bond if:
          (1) the permit holder has successfully completed all surface coal mining and reclamation activities;
          (2) the period of permit holder responsibility specified under Section 134.092(a)(20), 134.104, or 134.105 has expired; and
          (3) all reclamation requirements of this chapter have been met.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.132. NOTICE TO PERMIT HOLDER OF DECISION TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE RELEASE.
     (a) The commission shall notify the permit
      holder in writing of its decision to release or not to release all or part of the bond or deposit:
          (1) not later than the 60th day after the date the request is filed if a public hearing is not held; or
          (2) not later than the 30th day after the date of the hearing if a public hearing is held.
     (b) If the commission disapproves the application for release of all or part of the bond, it shall notify the permit holder, in writing:
          (1) stating the reasons for disapproval;
          (2) recommending corrective actions necessary to secure the release; and
          (3) allowing opportunity for a public hearing.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.133. NOTICE TO COUNTY JUDGE.
     Not later than the 31st day before the date of release of all or part of a bond, the commission, by certified mail, shall notify the county judge of any county in which the surface coal mining operation is located that an application for the release has been filed with the commission.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 134.134. OBJECTIONS TO RELEASE.
     (a) A person is entitled to file a written objection to a proposed release of a bond if the person:
          (1) has a legal interest that might be adversely affected by release of the bond; or
          (2) is the responsible officer or head of a federal, state, or local governmental agency that:
               (A) has jurisdiction by law or has special expertise with respect to an environmental, social, or economic impact involved in the mining operation; or
               (B) is authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards with respect to the operation.
     (b) Objections must be filed with the commission not later than the 30th day after the date of the last publication of the notice under Section 134.129.
     (c) If a written objection is filed and a public hearing is requested, not later than the 30th day after the date the hearing is requested the commission shall:
          (1) inform the interested parties of the time and place of the hearing; and
          (2) hold the hearing in the locality of the surface coal mining operation or at the state capital, at the option of the person objecting to the proposed release.
     (d) The commission shall advertise the date, time, and location of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the surface coal mining operation for two consecutive weeks.
     (e) The hearing and any appeal shall be conducted under Chapter 2001, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.