(a) Whenever the Department shall have reason to believe that a violation of (i) this Article, (ii) any rules adopted under this Article, or (iii) the terms and conditions of a permit, including the approved reclamation plan, has taken place, it shall serve written notice of the apparent violation upon the operator, specifying the facts constituting the apparent violation and informing the operator of the operator's right to an informal conference with the Department. The date for an informal conference shall be not less than 15 nor more than 30 days after the date of the notice, unless the Department and the operator mutually agree on another date. If the operator or the operator's representative does not appear at the informal conference, or if the Department following the informal conference finds that there has been a violation, the Department may suspend the permit until the violation is corrected or may revoke the permit where the violation appears to be willful.
(b) The effective date of any suspension or revocation shall be 30 days following the date of the decision. The filing of a petition for a contested case under G.S. 74-61 shall stay the effective date until issuance of a final decision. If the Department finds at the time of its initial decision that any delay in correcting a violation would result in imminent peril to life or danger to property or to the environment, it shall promptly initiate a proceeding for injunctive relief under G.S. 74-64 hereof and Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The pendency of any appeal from a suspension or revocation of a permit shall have no effect upon an action for injunctive relief.
(c) Any operator whose permit has been suspended or revoked shall be denied a new permit or a renewal of an existing permit to engage in mining until the operator gives evidence satisfactory to the Department of the operator's ability and intent to fully comply with the provisions of this Article and rules adopted under this Article, and the terms and conditions of the permit, including the approved reclamation plan, and that the operator has satisfactorily corrected all previous violations. (1971, c. 545, s. 13; 1973, c. 1262, s. 33; 1979, c. 252, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, s. 82A; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 568, s. 8; 2011-398, s. 29.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014