Mines and Mining

P Passed

P HB1688
Surface mining permit applications. Replaces language requiring the Division of Mined Land Reclamation, if requested to do so by a small operator, to assume the cost of preparing certain elements of the permit application with language requiring that such assistance be provided in accordance with the federal Surface Mining Control Act and only to the extent that funds are available from the federal Office of Surface Mining.
Patron - Kilgore

P HB1921
Coalbed methane; pooling orders. Clarifies how funds may be withdrawn from the escrow account established when the Virginia Gas and Oil Board enters an order pooling all interests in a coalbed methane gas drilling unit. The Board must order payment from the account within 30 days of receiving notification of a court decision adjudicating the ownership of the coalbed methane or an agreement between the claimants owning conflicting estates. The amount to be paid to the conflicting claimants shall be determined based on the percentage of ownership interest of the conflicting claimants as shown in the operator's supplemental filing made part of the pooling order that established the escrow account, the operator's records of deposits attributable to those tracts for which funds are being requested, and the records of the escrow account for the coalbed methane gas drilling unit.
Patron - Phillips

P HB2210
Coal Mine Safety Act. Revises the Act. The changes made by the bill, many of which are technical or clarifying in nature, include the following: References to abandoned areas of mines are replaced with references to worked-out areas. References to competent persons are replaced by references to authorized persons or certified persons. In several provisions where the Chief of the Division of Mines and the Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy are both given the authority or duty do something, the reference to the Director is removed. Operators of mines are required to secure surface openings against unauthorized entrance in areas where mining is discontinued for more than 30 days. Coal mine map revisions must be certified by a registered engineer or registered surveyor. The penalty for making false statements on mine maps is increased from $ 200 to the regular penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor. The requirement that members of mine rescue teams be 50 years of age or younger is removed. Mines are required to have their roof control plans approved by the Chief, and roof falls are to be reported in the same manner as other accidents. Safety procedures for mining near coalbed methane wells must be addressed in plans the mines are already required to have. Off-track haulage equipment operators are required to correct or report to the mine foreman any hazardous condition observed on haulage roads. Automatic couplers are required for track haulage cars which are regularly coupled and uncoupled. The requirement that the mine foreman or authorized person be in attendance while miners are boarding or leaving belts is eliminated. New surface structures where miners congregate or where official records are kept must be offset not less than 15 feet from the nearest side of any mine opening, or otherwise located to be out of the direct line of possible forces coming out of the mine should an explosion occur. Requirements for electrical systems are amended. Underground transformer stations, battery charging stations, substations, rectifiers, and water pumps must be housed in noncombustible structures or areas, or be equipped with an approved fire suppression system. Requirements for safety examinations, records of such examinations and reporting and posting of any hazardous conditions are revised.
Patron - Stump

F Failed

F HB1826
Licensing of coal mines. Provides that the affidavits that must be filed annually by coal mine operators stating that coal severance, personal property, real estate and mineral land taxes have been paid must address the taxes "owing." Currently they must address the taxes "due."
Patron - Phillips

F HB2044
Coalbed methane well permits. Requires that applications for such permits include signed consent from every surface owner who owns any real property lying within 750 horizontal feet of the proposed well location.
Patron - Stump

F HB2627
Orphaned wells. Allows oil and gas operators to obtain permits for investigating the redevelopment of an orphaned well. When the investigation is complete, the operator would be required to redevelop or plug the well in accordance with existing law. The permit would be exempt from any permit fees, and, if the well produces gas or oil, the gross receipts from such production would be exempt from local severance taxes. The bill also provides an income tax credit for investigation, redevelopment and plugging of orphaned wells, equal to the costs incurred by a taxpayer engaging in such activities.
Patron - Kilgore


© 1999 by the Division of Legislative Services.