Rules Governing Mined Land Reclamation
Status of Rulemaking
Temporary rule adopted by the Land Board, effective on July 16, 2019 – Land Board Approved Memo and Materials
IDL requested that the 2020 Idaho Legislature extend the effective date of the temporary rule while negotiated rulemaking to develop a proposed rule continues into 2020. IDL rule dockets are submitted to the Senate Resources and Environment Committee and the House Resources and Conservation Committee. Although both legislative committees approved extension of this temporary rule, the Legislature did not pass a concurrent resolution for this action.
On February 18, 2020, the Land Board adopted this rule as a temporary rule to be effective upon adjournment sine die of the 2020 legislative session. This new temporary rule became effective March 20, 2020, and will be published in a special edition of the Administrative Bulletin in April 2020. (See Docket No. 20-0000-2000F.)
Documents Required by Idaho Administrative Procedure Act
Notice of Rulemaking – Adoption of Temporary Rule – Administrative Bulletin Volume 19-9, September 4, 2019 – Page 317
House Bill 141 required a temporary rule to be in place by August 1, 2019. The surface effects of underground mines now fall under the jurisdiction of the rules if certain thresholds are reached. This will prevent new or expanded underground mines from becoming public hazards if they are abandoned, and require reclamation of the surface disturbance. In addition, the rule requires new or amended reclamation plans to describe the post closure activities. To help ensure that a mine operator will bear the costs of reclamation and post closure, the rules require an operator to provide financial assurance to complete all of the reclamation and post closure tasks described in a plan. New methods of providing financial assurance, and some updates to existing methods, are also provided so operators have more options. The rules require updates to be filed on every mine operation at least every five years, and for the department to inspect every plan at least every five years.
Without these changes, Idaho’s surface and ground waters are at risk due to a lack of adequate proactive measures for the mining industry to follow. In addition, the taxpayers of Idaho are also at risk of having to pay for the reclamation of mined lands when an operator defaults on their responsibility and the financial assurance is inadequate.
Temporary Rule Justification
Pursuant to Sections 67-5226(1)(a) and (b), Idaho Code, the Governor has found that temporary adoption of the rule is appropriate for the following reasons:
House Bill 141 required a temporary rule to be in place by August 1, 2019. The temporary rule implements several important changes for mining regulations in Idaho that will provide greater protections for public health and safety and Idaho’s water resources.
To develop the temporary rule, negotiated rulemaking was conducted in May and June 2019 under docket number 20-0302-1901. The meeting schedule, comments, draft rule text, and reference materials are posted on the Rulemaking for IDAPA 20.03.02 page.