Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ohio House Passes Legislation Modernizing Coal Mining Permits and Requirements

COLUMBUS—State Representative Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) has announced that the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 163, which revises Ohio coal mining laws regarding permit application, set-back, and alternative water treatment or supply requirements.

Among other provisions, House Bill 163 requires an applicant for a coal mining operation permit to submit either the surface owner’s written consent or a conveyance only if surface disturbance will result from the applicant’s proposed use of strip mining. It also requires specified set-backs for coal mining operations to be measured horizontally.

“The technology driving this legislation is very portable and is being widely used in other coal mining states to increase production and jobs,” said Balderson, who serves as chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, as well as a member of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Many Ohio companies have invested in this technology, and I’m pleased that this now has the opportunity to be a statewide investment.”

The legislation will bring permit application requirements in line with advances in mining technology. Currently, mining can now begin with a surface cut but then advance underground in a manner engineered to prevent surface disturbance. Through House Bill 163, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources would be able to tailor mining permits based on the actual impacts of mining rather than on the name of the mining method.

House Bill 163 does not impact the environment or change any current environmental protection standard. Additionally, it does not have a budget impact.

House Bill 163 unanimously passed and will now move to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.