C.R.S. Section 34-33-109


No later than eight months after the date on which a Colorado program is approved by the secretary pursuant to section 503 of the federal “Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977”, as amended, (Pub.L. 95-87), such date to be determined and set forth in a rule of the board, no person shall conduct on lands within this state any surface coal mining and reclamation operations unless such person has first obtained a permit under this article; except that a person conducting surface coal mining and reclamation operations under an existing valid permit may conduct such operations beyond such date if an application for a permit has been filed in accordance with the provisions of this article, but the initial administrative decision has not been rendered; and except that no permit shall be required for reclamation operations on abandoned or unreclaimed lands not required to be reclaimed under state or federal law.


No later than two months following said approval of a Colorado program by the secretary, all operators of surface coal mines, operating on such date of approval and intending to operate such mines after the expiration of eight months from such approval of the Colorado program, shall file an application for a permit with the division; except that, with regard to the requirements of section 34-33-110 (2)(1), such application shall be considered filed for the purposes of this subsection (2) if it contains all applicable hydrologic information reasonably available to the applicant as of the date of the application.


If, upon such date of approval by the secretary of a Colorado program, a person has filed with the office an application for a permit in accordance with the “Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act” and section 502 of said Pub.L. 95-87, and the office or board has not yet made a final decision on such application, the board or office shall, unless such application is withdrawn, act on such application in accordance with the “Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act” and section 502 of Pub.L. 95-87; except that in no event shall such person be relieved of the obligation to obtain a permit as required by subsection (1) of this section and said Pub.L. 95-87.


No governmental office of the state, other than the board or office, nor any political subdivision of the state shall have the authority to require reclamation of lands affected or proposed to be affected by surface coal mining operations.


All permits issued pursuant to the requirements of this article shall be issued for a term not to exceed five years; except that, if the applicant demonstrates that a specified longer term is reasonably needed to allow the applicant to obtain necessary financing for equipment and the opening of the operation and if the application is full and complete for such specified longer term, the board or office may grant a permit for such longer term. A successor in interest to a permittee who applies for a new permit within thirty days after succeeding to such interest and who is able to obtain bond coverage the same as or equivalent to that of the original permittee may continue surface coal mining and reclamation operations according to the approved surface coal mining operations and reclamation plan of the original permittee until such successor’s application is granted or denied.


A permit shall terminate if the permittee has not commenced the surface coal mining operations covered by such permit within three years after the issuance of the permit; except that the office or board may grant reasonable extensions of time upon a showing that such extensions are necessary by reason of litigation precluding such commencement or threatening substantial economic loss to the permittee or by reason of conditions beyond the control and without the fault or negligence of the permittee; except that, in the case of a coal lease issued under the federal “Mineral Lands Leasing Act”, as amended, extensions of time may not extend beyond the period allowed for diligent development in accordance with section 7 of that act; and except that, with respect to coal to be mined for use in a synthetic fuel facility or specific major electric generating facility, the permittee shall be deemed to have commenced surface coal mining operations at such time as the construction of the synthetic fuel or generating facility is initiated.


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Any permit issued pursuant to this article shall carry with it the right of successive renewal upon expiration with respect to permit areas. The holder of the permit may apply for renewal, and such renewal shall be issued subsequent to fulfillment of the public notice requirements of sections 34-33-118 and 34-33-119, unless it is established by a preponderance of the evidence and written findings by the board are made that:


The terms and conditions of the existing permit are not being satisfactorily met; except that renewal may be granted to the holder of the permit on the condition that the holder of the permit demonstrates that said holder of the permit is meeting and will continue to meet a schedule agreed to by such holder of the permit and the office for correcting any permit violation, consistent with section 34-33-123;


The present surface coal mining and reclamation operation is not in compliance with the environmental protection standards of this article or regulations promulgated thereunder;


The renewal requested substantially jeopardizes the operator’s continuing responsibility on existing permit areas;


The operator has not provided evidence that the performance bond in effect for said operation will continue in full force and effect for any renewal requested in such application as well as any additional bond the board or office might require pursuant to section 34-33-113; or


Any additional revised or updated information required by the office has not been provided.


Prior to the approval of any renewal of permit, the office shall provide notice to the United States office of surface mining reclamation and enforcement, to the surface and mineral owners of record of the affected land, and to the board of county commissioners of the county in which the affected land is located.


If an application for renewal of a permit includes a proposal to extend the surface coal mining and reclamation operations beyond the existing permit area, the portion of the application for renewal which addresses any new land areas shall be subject to the full standards applicable to new applications under this article; except that, if the surface coal mining and reclamation operations authorized by a permit issued pursuant to this article were not subject to the standards contained in section 34-33-114 (2)(e)(I) by reason of the exception provided in section 34-33-114 (2)(e)(II), the portion of the application for renewal of the permit which addresses any new land areas previously identified in the reclamation plan submitted pursuant to section 34-33-111 shall not be subject to the standards contained in section 34-33-114 (2)(e)(I).


Any permit renewal shall be for an additional term not to exceed the period of the original permit established by this article. Application for a permit renewal shall be made at least one hundred eighty days prior to the expiration of the existing permit. The office shall mail to the operator notice of the need to renew such permit at least ninety days prior to the final date for permit renewal.


In any hearing on renewal of a permit, the burden of persuasion shall be on the opponents of renewal.


The holder of a valid permit may continue surface mining operations under said permit, subject to section 34-33-123, beyond the expiration date until a final administrative decision on renewal is rendered if a renewal application is received by the office at least one hundred eighty days prior to the expiration date of the permit.

Source: Section 34-33-109 — Permits, https://leg.­colorado.­gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-34.­pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).

Short title
Legislative declaration
Jurisdiction of office and board
Additional duties of division
Powers of department
Rules and regulations - no more stringent
Application for permit
Reclamation plan requirements
Small operator assistance
Performance bonds
Permit approval or denial
Revision of permit
Technical revision of permit - regulations
Coal exploration permit - regulations
Public notice and public hearings on complete applications
Permit application decisions of the office - appeals
Environmental protection performance standards - regulations
Surface effects of underground coal mining
Inspections and monitoring
Enforcement - civil and criminal penalties
Review by board
Release of performance bonds or deposits
Designating areas unsuitable for surface coal mining
Public agencies, public utilities, and public corporations
Judicial review
Surface coal mining operations not subject to this article
Data inventory
Informal opinion as to alluvial valley floors
Special coordination and review process - site-specific agreements
Abandoned mine reclamation plan
Colorado mine subsidence protection program - rules
Experimental practices
Civil actions
Water rights
Reservation clause
Green check means up to date. Up to date

Current through Fall 2024

§ 34-33-109’s source at colorado​.gov