TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

TITLE 3. OIL AND GAS

SUBTITLE A. ADMINISTRATION

CHAPTER 134. TEXAS SURFACE COAL MINING AND RECLAMATION ACT

SUBCHAPTER G. ABANDONED MINE RECLAMATION



§ 134.141. FUND PARTICIPATION.
     (a) The commission may take any action necessary to:
          (1) ensure this state's participation to the fullest extent practicable in the abandoned mine reclamation fund established by the federal Act; and
          (2) act as this state's agency for that participation.
     (b) Under the federal Act, the commission by rule shall:
          (1) establish priorities that meet the terms of that Act for the expenditure of money in the fund;
          (2) designate the land and water eligible for reclamation or abatement expenditures;
          (3) submit reclamation plans, annual projects, and applications to the appropriate authorities under that Act; and
          (4) administer money received for abandoned mine reclamation or related purposes.

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

§ 134.142. ELIGIBILITY OF LAND AND WATER.
     Land and water are eligible for reclamation or abatement expenditures under this subchapter if the land and water are eligible for reclamation or abatement expenditures under the federal Act.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 12.02(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1307, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

§ 134.143. RIGHT OF ENTRY.
     The commission is entitled to enter any property to conduct studies or exploratory work to determine:
          (1) the existence of adverse effects of past coal mining practices; and
          (2) the feasibility of restoration, reclamation, abatement, control, or prevention of those adverse effects.

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

§ 134.144. RECLAMATION BY COMMISSION.
     (a) The commission is entitled to enter property adversely affected by past coal mining practices or other property necessary to have access to that property to do the things necessary or expedient to restore, reclaim, abate, control, or prevent the adverse effects if the commission:
          (1) makes a finding of fact that:
               (A) land or water resources have been adversely affected by past coal mining practices;
               (B) the adverse effects are at a stage at which, in the public interest, action to restore, reclaim, abate, control, or prevent the adverse effects of past coal mining practices should be taken; and
               (C) the owners of the land or water resources where entry must be made to restore, reclaim, abate, control, or prevent the adverse effects of past coal mining practices:
                    (i) are not known or readily available; or
                    (ii) will not permit this state or a political subdivision to enter the property to restore, reclaim, abate, control, or prevent the adverse effects of past coal mining practices; and
          (2) gives notice by mail to the owners, if known, or, if not known, by posting notice on the premises and advertising once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the land lies.
     (b) The money expended for the work and the benefits accruing to the premises entered are chargeable against the land and mitigate or offset a claim for, or an action brought by an owner of an interest in the premises for, damages from the entry. This subsection does not create a new right of action or eliminate an existing immunity.

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

§ 134.145. ACQUISITION.
     This state may acquire by purchase, donation, or condemnation land that is adversely affected by past coal mining practices if:
          (1) it is in the public interest; and
          (2) the commission determines that:
               (A) acquiring the land is necessary for successful reclamation;
               (B) the acquired land, after restoration, reclamation, abatement, control, or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices, will:
                    (i) serve recreational and historical purposes;
                    (ii) serve conservation and reclamation purposes; or
                    (iii) provide open space benefits; and
               (C) permanent facilities such as a treatment plant or a relocated stream channel will be constructed on the land for the restoration, reclamation, abatement, control, or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices, acquisition of coal refuse disposal sites and the coal refuse on those sites will serve the purposes of this section, or public ownership is desirable to meet emergency situations and prevent recurrences of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices.

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

§ 134.146. TITLE.
     Title to land acquired under Section 134.145 shall be in the name of this state.

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

§ 134.147. COST OF LAND.
     The price paid for land acquired under Section 134.145 shall reflect the market value of the land as adversely affected by past coal mining practices.

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

§ 134.148. SALE OF ACQUIRED LAND.
     (a) If land acquired under Section 134.145 is considered suitable for industrial, commercial, residential, or recreational development, this state may sell the land by public sale under a system of competitive bidding at not less than fair market value and under rules adopted to ensure that the land is put to proper use consistent with local plans, if any, as determined by the commission.
     (b) The land may be sold only when authorized by the secretary of the interior if federal money was involved in the acquisition of the land to be sold.

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

§ 134.149. HEARING ON SALE.
     (a) The commission, after appropriate public notice and on request, shall hold a public hearing in the county or counties in which land acquired under Section 134.145 is located.
     (b) The hearing shall be held at a time that gives residents and local governments maximum opportunity to participate in the decision about the use or disposition of the land after restoration, reclamation, abatement, control, or prevention of the adverse effects of past coal mining practices.

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

§ 134.150. LIEN.
     (a) Not later than six months after the date projects to reclaim privately owned land are completed, the commission:
          (1) shall itemize the money spent; and
          (2) may file a statement of the money spent with the clerk of the county in which the land lies, together with a notarized appraisal by an independent appraiser of the value of the land before the restoration, reclamation, abatement, control, or prevention of the adverse effects of past mining practices if the money spent will result in a significant increase in property value.
     (b) The statement is a lien on the land second only to a property tax lien. The amount of the lien may not exceed the amount determined by either of two appraisals to be the increase in the market value of the land as a result of the restoration, reclamation, abatement, control, or prevention of the adverse effects of past mining practices.
     (c) A lien may not be filed under this section against the property of a person who:
          (1) owned the surface before May 2, 1977; and
          (2) did not consent to, participate in, or exercise control over the mining operation that necessitated the reclamation performed under this chapter.

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

§ 134.151. HEARING ON LIEN.
     Not later than the 60th day after the date the lien is filed, an affected landowner may petition the commission for a hearing on the amount of the lien. 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.

§ 134.152. EMERGENCY POWERS.
     (a) The commission may spend money available for abandoned mine reclamation for the emergency restoration, reclamation, abatement, control, or prevention of the adverse effects of coal mining practices on eligible land and water if the commission finds that:
          (1) an emergency exists constituting a danger to the public health, safety, or general welfare; and
          (2) there is not another person who will act expeditiously to restore, reclaim, abate, control, or prevent the adverse effects of past coal mining practices.
     (b) The commission may enter land where an emergency exists and other land necessary to have access to that land to:
          (1) restore, reclaim, abate, control, or prevent the adverse effects of coal mining practices; and
          (2) do the things necessary or expedient to protect the public health, safety, or general welfare.
     (c) Entry under this section is an exercise of the police power and not an act of condemnation of property or trespass.
     (d) Money spent under this section and the benefits accruing to the premises entered are chargeable against the land and mitigate or offset a claim for, or an action brought by an owner of an interest in the premises for, damages by virtue of the entry. This subsection does not create a new right of action or eliminate an existing immunity.

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