SENATE BILL NO. 5250



                                                                            C 230 L 89



State of Washington                               51st Legislature                              1989 Regular Session


By Senators Sutherland and Amondson



Read first time 1/18/89 and referred to Committee on Environment & Natural Resources.



AN ACT Relating to surface mining; and amending RCW 78.44.140.




        Sec. 1.  Section 15, chapter 64, Laws of 1970 ex. sess. as amended by section 6, chapter 215, Laws of 1984 and RCW 78.44.140 are each amended to read as follows:

          Upon receipt of the operator's report, and at any other reasonable time the department may elect, the department shall cause the permit area to be inspected to determine if the operator has complied with the reclamation plan and the department's rules and regulations.

          The operator shall proceed with reclamation as scheduled in the reclamation plan.  Following any written notice by the department noting deficiencies, the operator shall commence action within thirty days, or as directed by the department if it has determined that emergency actions are required, to rectify these deficiencies and shall diligently proceed until the deficiencies are corrected:  PROVIDED, That deficiencies that also violate other laws that require earlier rectification shall be corrected in accordance with the applicable time provisions of such laws.  The department may extend performance periods referred to in this section and in RCW 78.44.090, for delays clearly beyond the operator's control, but only when the operator is, in the opinion of the department, making every reasonable effort to comply.

          Within thirty days after notification by the operator and when in the judgment of the department reclamation of a unit of surface mined area is properly completed, the mining operator shall be notified in writing and his bond on said area shall be released or decreased proportionately.

          If reclamation of surface mined land is not proceeding in accordance with the reclamation plan and the operator has not commenced action to rectify deficiencies within thirty days after notification by the department or as directed by the department, or if reclamation is not properly completed in conformance with the reclamation plan within two years after completion or abandonment of surface mining on any segment of the permit area, the department is authorized, with the staff, equipment and material under ((his)) its control, or by contract with others, to take such actions as are necessary for the reclamation of the surface mined areas.  If the department intends to undertake the reclamation, the department shall ascertain the probable costs of reclamation and shall notify the operator, the surety, and the owner of the probable costs.  The operator or surety, or both, shall pay that amount to the department for reclaiming the surface mined land.  The department shall keep a record of all necessary expenses incurred in carrying out any project or activity authorized under this section, including a reasonable charge for the services performed by the state's personnel and the state's equipment and materials utilized.

          The department shall notify the operator, the owner, and the surety by order.  The order shall state the amount of necessary expenses incurred by the department in reclaiming the surface mined land and a notice that the amount is due and payable to the department by the operator and the surety to the extent that the amount has not already been paid.  The department shall refund all amounts received above the amount of expenses incurred.

          If the amount specified in the notice or order is not paid within thirty days after receipt of the notice, the attorney general, upon request of the department, shall bring an action on behalf of the state in the superior court for Thurston county or any county in which the persons to whom the notice or order is directed do business to recover the amount specified.  The surety shall be liable to the state to the extent of the bond.

          ((The amount owed the department by the operator for the reclamation performed by the state may be recovered by a lien against the reclaimed property, which may be enforced in the same manner and with the same effect as a mechanic's lien.))

          In addition to the other liabilities imposed by this chapter, failure to commence action to rectify deficiencies in reclamation within thirty days after notification by the department or failure satisfactorily to complete reclamation work on any segment of the permit area within two years after completion or abandonment of surface mining on any segment of the permit area shall constitute sufficient grounds for cancellation of a permit and refusal to issue another permit to the delinquent operator until such deficiencies are corrected by the operator.

                                                                                                                           Passed the Senate March 2, 1989.


                                                                                                                                       President of the Senate.


                                                                                                                           Passed the House April 14, 1989.


                                                                                                                                         Speaker of the House.