State Representative Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) has announced that Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 163 into law on June 30, 2011. This bill, proposed by Representative Balderson, 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 an impact on the budget.

In a move of true bipartisanship, Balderson’s bill passed both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate unanimously. Representative Balderson also thanked Mike Carey with the Ohio Coal Association for their assistance in crafting this piece of legislation into law and former Senator Jimmy Stewart for sponsoring the bill in the Ohio Senate.


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