§181-6 Reclamation. (a) Prior to the commencement of any strip mining the operator shall submit to the board of land and natural resources a plan, which must be approved in writing, or approved as amended, which plan shall include, inter alia, a contour basis for the mining operations, the depth to which and the direction in which the operations are proposed to be conducted, the proposed disposition of boulders and tailings, and provisions for the stripping, storage, and, if required, the replacement of the topsoil. The operator shall have the right of appeal as provided by section 181-8 for any decision, order, or action of the board in respect of such plan.
(b) As soon as practicable following the completion or abandonment of strip mining of any pit or of such portion thereof as may be specified in the plan, the operator shall submit to the board a proposal for the reclamation thereof. A pit shall be deemed abandoned if mining operations with respect thereto shall not have been resumed on a substantial scale following six months cessation of operations. The proposal shall require the operator to:
(1) Strike off peaks and ridges and fill in deep depressions created or left by the mining operations and grade the surface of the pit to contour which will minimize erosion and be suitable for planting as provided in this section.
(2) Dispose of all debris, rubble, and tailings in such manner as to enhance the contour of the pit or to provide erosion and drainage control in adjacent areas.
(3) Provide such drains, ditches, and outlets as may be necessary to prevent the accumulation of water in the pit and to remove water from the pit in such a way as to minimize erosion of the pit and the surrounding land.
(4) Utilize the overburden removed from the surface of the pit in such manner as best to recondition or reclaim the mined area, or the area where the tailings have been disposed, if in an area other than the pit.
(5) Provide a reasonable means of access to the pit.
(6) Revegetate or rehabilitate the pit, which shall include, inter alia, provisions for:
(A) Replacing the topsoil, if required;
(B) Liming, if mining produces deleterious changes in soil acidity from the original soil condition of the area, or if needed for the establishment of satisfactory fertility under subparagraph (C) hereafter;
(C) Applying fertilizer to reestablish satisfactory fertility and crop production in soils of areas cultivated to agricultural crops prior to the inception of mining, and, in areas used for grazing or forest prior to the inception of mining, fertilizer to provide a grass forage cover suitable for an annual carrying capacity of not less than one head of cattle for each three acres;
(D) Planting in all instances a cover crop of good pasture grass to stabilize the exposed surface and to minimize erosion, unless immediate crop production shall be affected, or unless relieved therefrom by the board in writing. In pits intended for restoration to forest, rehabilitation shall include a quick cover crop followed by forest plantings, respecting which the board shall advise on types, availability, and spacing of species to be planted;
(E) Achieving, where possible, as a minimum goal of restoration, comparable fertility and use of land to that existing prior to strip mining.
If in the judgment of the board the aforesaid proposal is reasonable and meets the requirements of this section, the board shall approve the proposal; if not, it shall notify the operator of the reasons for its disapproval in writing. The operator shall thereupon submit an amended proposal. If the board disapproves of the amended proposal, the operator may appeal the action to the circuit environmental court in accordance with section 181-8; otherwise, the operator shall submit another amended proposal until approval is obtained. Upon approval being obtained, or the issuance of an order in the event of an appeal, the operator shall commence work under the reclamation proposal and shall prosecute the work required thereunder with reasonable diligence and effect reclamation within a period of two years next following the approval or issuance of the order, unless the time is extended by the board. The operator shall notify the board upon completion of reclamation, whereupon an inspection shall be made of the pit by the board and a determination made of the satisfactory performance by the operator of the proposal. In the event that the proposal and this chapter has been complied with, the board shall take such action as is required under sections 181-5 and 181-7. In the event that the performance shall not be satisfactory, the board shall serve upon the operator written directions for additional performance, and unless an appeal is taken therefrom under section 181-8, the operator shall forthwith comply with the directions.
(c) At the completion of each year, and at the time the operator makes application to the board for a renewal of the operator's permit under section 181-4, the operator shall submit in duplicate to the board a map in a form approved by the board, setting forth such description as will identify the land from which the operator removed any mineral by strip mining during the preceding permit year, with a legend upon the map showing the number of acres affected and the extent that the topography has been disturbed by the mining. The accuracy of the map may be checked by the board and if found to be erroneous, it shall be corrected by the operator prior to the issuance of a renewal permit. [L 1957, c 161, §7; am L 1959, c 20, §6; am L Sp 1959 2d, c 1, §21; am L 1961, c 132, §2; Supp, §98C-7; HRS §181-6; gen ch 1985; am L 2014, c 218, §8]