The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued a notice of proposed amendments to the regulations regarding surface coal mining in Title 11 of the Alaska Administrative Code (AAC).

The DNR proposes to implement program amendments from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement required to maintain the state’s primacy over the coal program pursuant to the Alaska Surface Coal Mining Control and Reclamation Act. The DNR will readopt all sections within 11 AAC 90.02 – 11 AAC 90.911 into the AAC. These regulations will no longer be adopted by reference in 11 AAC 90.01(a) as a separate document, but will instead be printed in full within the AAC. Most sections are proposed to be adopted without change outside of technical amendments after the public comment period or resulting from Alaska Department of Law review.

Substantive amendments include: (i) changes to information required from an applicant regarding ownership and control of a mining operation; (ii) a process to determine whether an applicant is eligible for a permit; (iii) updates to the process for determining valid existing rights to coal resources on certain state and federal lands; (iv) requirements for remining of areas that have already been mined; (v) adjustments to provisions which govern exploration that substantially disturbs natural land surface or occurs in an area designated unsuitable for surface coal mining to minimize interference; and (vi) repealing and readopting 11 AAC 90.625 to include new methods for penalty assessment and computation.

The public comment period runs until 5:00 p.m. on March 11, 2022. Comments must be in writing, and may be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the contact information below:

Attn: Angie Fraker
Division of Mining, Land and Water
550 W 7th Ave., Suite 1070
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3579
Fax: (907) 269-8904

Written questions may also be submitted and must be received at least 10 days before the end of the public comment period.