Alaska Statutes.
Title 27. Mining
Chapter 21. Alaska Surface Coal Mining Control and Reclamation Act
Section 180. Application Approval or Denial.
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AS 27.21.180. Application Approval or Denial.

(a) Within 120 days after receipt of a complete application for a permit or for revision or renewal of a permit, the commissioner shall grant, condition, modify, or deny the application and notify the applicant in writing of the commissioner's action. The applicant has the burden of establishing that the application complies with the requirements of this chapter and the regulations adopted under it. Within 10 days after approving an application, the commissioner shall record in the recording district in which the permit area is located notice that a permit has been issued. The notice must describe the location of the permit area and the state where a copy of the permit may be obtained.

(b) If the commissioner requests modification of an application, the commissioner shall state in writing which parts need modification and in what manner, and which parts of the application meet approval. The applicant will then need only to correct the deficient portion and resubmit the application. However, the commissioner may at any time require additional information from the applicant if the requirement is based on good cause and on a written finding that the additional information is necessary for the commissioner to determine whether the proposed operation will meet the requirements of this chapter and the regulations adopted under it. After receipt of the information requested, the commissioner has 60 days to approve, condition, or deny the permit as described in (a) of this section.

(c) The commissioner may not approve an application for a permit or for revision of a permit unless the application demonstrates and the commissioner finds, in writing and on the basis of information included in the application or information that is otherwise available to the commissioner and that the commissioner documents in the approval and makes available to the applicant, that

(1) the application is accurate and complete and that it complies with the requirements of this chapter and regulations adopted under this chapter;

(2) the applicant has demonstrated that reclamation as required by this chapter and regulations adopted under it can be accomplished under the reclamation plan contained in the application;

(3) an assessment of the probable cumulative impact of all anticipated surface coal mining in the area on the hydrologic balance has been made by the commissioner, and that the proposed operation has been designed to prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area;

(4) the area proposed to be mined is not included within an area that

(A) is designated as unsuitable for surface coal mining under AS 27.21.260; or

(B) is being considered by the commissioner for designation in an administrative proceeding commenced under AS 27.21.260 , unless the applicant demonstrates that before January 1, 1977, the applicant made substantial legal and financial commitments in relation to the proposed operation for which the applicant is applying for a permit;

(5) the proposed surface coal mining operation will not

(A) interrupt, discontinue, or preclude farming on an alluvial valley that is irrigated or naturally subirrigated, excluding undeveloped range land that is not significant to farming on the alluvial valley floor and land on which the farming that will be interrupted, discontinued, or precluded is so small as to have negligible impact on the farm's total agricultural production; or

(B) materially damage the quantity or quality of water in surface or underground water systems that supply an alluvial valley floor; and

(6) if the ownership of the coal in the permit area has been severed from the private surface estate, the applicant has submitted to the commissioner

(A) the written consent of the surface owner to the extraction of the coal by surface mining methods;

(B) a conveyance that expressly grants or reserves the right to extract the coal by surface mining methods; or

(C) a determination of a court that the applicant is authorized to extract coal by surface mining methods in the permit area; however, nothing in this chapter may be construed to authorize the commissioner to adjudicate property rights disputes.

(d) The provisions of (c)(5) of this section do not apply to a surface coal mining operation that, in the 12-month period preceding August 3, 1977, produced coal in commercial quantities and was located within or adjacent to an alluvial valley floor.

(e) An applicant shall file with an application a list of all cited violations of this chapter and all cited violations of a law, rule, or regulation of the United States, the state, or a department or agency of the United States pertaining to air or water environmental protection received by the applicant in connection with a surface coal mining operation within the United States during the three-year period before the date of filing the application. The list must indicate the final resolution, if any, of the violations. If the list or other information available to the commissioner indicates that a surface coal mining operation owned or controlled by the applicant is currently in violation of this chapter or of a law, rule, or regulation described in this subsection, the commissioner may not approve the application until the applicant submits proof that

(1) the violation has been corrected or is being corrected to the satisfaction of the commissioner or to the satisfaction of the agency responsible for the enforcement of the law, rule, or regulation if the violation is not of this chapter; or

(2) the applicant is involved in an administrative or judicial proceeding to determine whether the applicant has committed the violation.

(f) The commissioner may not approve an application under this section if the commissioner finds, after providing the applicant with an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with the procedures established in AS 27.21.150 , that the applicant, or the operator specified in the application, controls or has controlled mining operations with a demonstrated pattern of wilful violations of this chapter of such nature and duration and with such resulting irreparable damage to the environment as to indicate an intent not to comply with this chapter.

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