Chapter 10. Performance Standards
"Approximate original contour" defined
Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, "approximate original contour"
means the surface configuration achieved by backfilling and grading
of the mined area so that the reclaimed area, including terracing or
(1) closely resembles the general surface configuration of the
land before mining; and
(2) blends into and complements the drainage pattern of the
surrounding terrain, with all highwalls and spoil piles
eliminated except for the following:
(A) Water impoundments that comply with section 2(b)(11)
of this chapter.
(B) Boxcut spoil areas that are:
(i) specifically designed to provide alternative land uses;
(ii) permitted by the director.
As added by P.L.1-1995, SEC.27.
Duties of permittee
Sec. 2. (a) As used in this section, "higher or better uses" means
postmining land uses that have a higher:
(1) economic value; or
(2) nonmonetary benefit;
to the landowner or the community than the premining land uses.
(b) In addition to other standards a permittee must meet under
rules of the commission, a permittee shall do the following:
(1) Place markers on the site to readily identify the permit area.
(2) Conduct the surface coal mining operation in a manner that
maximizes the use and conservation of the solid fuel resource
that is recovered so that reaffecting the land in the future
through surface coal mining is minimized.
(3) Restore the land affected to a condition capable of
supporting the uses that the land was capable of supporting
before mining or higher or better uses of which there is a
reasonable likelihood if:
(A) those uses do not:
(i) present an actual or a probable hazard to public health
or safety; or
(ii) pose an actual or a probable threat of water diminution
or pollution; and
(B) the permit applicant's declared proposed land use
(i) is not impractical or unreasonable;
(ii) is not inconsistent with applicable land use policies
(iii) does not involve unreasonable delay in
(iv) does not violate federal, state, or local law.
(4) Except as provided in subdivisions (5) and (6) and section
4 of this chapter with respect to all surface coal mining
operations backfill, compact where advisable to ensure stability
or prevent the leaching of toxic materials, and grade to restore
the approximate original contour of the land with all highwalls,
spoil piles, and depressions eliminated. Small depressions are
allowed if needed to retain moisture to assist revegetation or as
otherwise authorized under this article.
(5) In a surface coal mining operation that:
(A) is carried out at the same location over a substantial
(B) transects the coal deposit and the thickness of the coal
deposit relative to the volume of the overburden that is large;
(C) has overburden and other spoil and waste materials at a
particular point in the permit area or otherwise available
from the entire permit area that is insufficient, giving due
consideration to volumetric expansion, to restore the
approximate original contour;
the operator, at a minimum, shall backfill, grade, and compact,
where advisable, using all available overburden and other spoil
and waste materials to attain the lowest practicable grade but
not more than the angle of repose to provide adequate drainage
and to cover all acid-forming and other toxic materials to
achieve an ecologically sound land use compatible with the
(6) If in surface coal mining:
(A) the volume of overburden is large relative to the
thickness of the coal deposit; and
(B) the operator demonstrates that due to volumetric
expansion the amount of overburden and other spoil and
waste materials removed in the course of the mining
operation is more than sufficient to restore the approximate
the operator shall, after restoring the approximate contour,
backfill, grade, and compact, where advisable, the excess
overburden and other spoil and waste materials to attain the
lowest grade but not more than the angle of repose and to cover
all acid-forming and other toxic materials to achieve an
ecologically sound land use compatible with the surrounding
region. The overburden or spoil shall be shaped and graded in
a way that prevents slides, erosion, and water pollution and
revegetated in accordance with the requirements of this article.
(7) Stabilize and protect all surface areas, including spoil piles,
affected by the surface coal mining and reclamation operation
to effectively control erosion and attendant air and water
(8) Remove the topsoil from the land in a separate layer and:
(A) replace the topsoil on the backfill area; or
(B) if the topsoil is not used immediately;
(i) segregate the topsoil in a separate pile from other spoil;
(ii) if the topsoil is not replaced on a backfill area within
a time short enough to avoid deterioration of the topsoil,
maintain a successful cover by quick growing plants or
other means so that the topsoil is preserved from wind and
water erosion, remains free of any contamination by other
acid or toxic material, and is in a usable condition for
sustaining vegetation when restored during reclamation.
However, if the topsoil is of insufficient quantity or of poor
quality to sustain vegetation or if other strata are more suitable
for vegetation requirements, the operator shall remove,
segregate, and preserve, in a like manner, the strata that are best
able to support vegetation.
(9) Restore the topsoil or the best available subsoil that is best
able to support vegetation.
(10) For all prime farmland as identified in IC 14-34-3-3(16),
comply with the specifications for soil removal, storage,
replacement, and reconstruction established by rules of the
commission and do the following:
(A) Segregate the A horizon of the natural soil unless it is
shown that other available soil materials will create a final
soil that has a greater productive capacity, stockpile this
material, if not used immediately, separately from other
spoil, and provide needed protection from wind and water
erosion or contamination by other acid or toxic material.
(B) Segregate the B horizon of the natural soil, or underlying
C horizons or other strata, or a combination of those
horizons or other strata that are texturally and chemically
suitable for plant growth and equal to or more favorable for
plant growth than the B horizon, in sufficient quantities to
create in the regraded final soil a root zone of comparable
depth and quality to that existing in the natural soil,
stockpile this material, if not used immediately, separately
from other spoil, and provide needed protection from wind
and water erosion or contamination by other acid or toxic
(C) Replace and regrade the root zone material described in
clause (B) with proper compaction and uniform depth over
the regraded spoil material.
(D) Redistribute and grade in a uniform manner the surface
soil horizon described in clause (A).
(11) Create, if authorized in the approved surface coal mining
and reclamation plan, permanent impoundments of water on
mining sites. The permittee may create the permanent
impoundment only after the permittee demonstrates the
(A) The size of the impoundment is adequate for the
(B) The impoundment dam construction will be designed to
achieve necessary stability with an adequate margin of safety
compatible with that of structures constructed under 16
(C) The quality of impounded water will be suitable, on a
permanent basis, for the intended use and discharges from
the impoundment will not degrade the water quality below
water quality standards established under applicable federal
and state law in the receiving stream.
(D) The level of water will be reasonably stable.
(E) Final grading will provide adequate safety and access for
proposed water users.
(F) The water impoundments will not result in the
diminution of the quality or quantity of water used by
adjacent or surrounding landowners for agricultural,
industrial, recreational, or domestic uses.
(12) Conduct an augering operation associated with surface coal
mining in a manner that maximizes the recoverability of mineral
reserves remaining after the surface coal mining and
reclamation operation is complete and seal all auger holes with
an impervious and noncombustible material to prevent drainage
except where the director determines that the resulting
impoundment of water in those auger holes may create a hazard
to the environment or the public health or safety. The director
may prohibit augering if necessary to:
(A) maximize the use, recoverability, or conservation of the
solid fuel resources; or
(B) protect against adverse water quality impacts.
(13) Minimize disturbances to the prevailing hydrologic balance
at the mine site and associated offsite areas and to the quality
and quantity of water in surface and ground water systems
during and after surface coal mining and reclamation operations
by doing the following:
(A) Avoiding acid or other toxic mine drainage by measures
such as the following:
(i) Preventing or removing water from contact with
(ii) Treating drainage to reduce toxic content that
adversely affects downstream water upon being released
(iii) Casing, sealing, or otherwise managing boreholes,
shafts, and wells and keep acid or other toxic drainage
from entering ground and surface water.
(B) Conducting surface coal mining and reclamation
operations so as to prevent, to the extent possible using the
best technology currently available, violations of the effluent
limitations for coal mining operations established under
applicable state or federal law.
(C) Constructing siltation structures under clause (B) before
commencement of surface coal mining operations that will
be certified by an engineer licensed under IC 25-31 and
constructed as designed and approved in the reclamation
(D) Cleaning out and removing temporary or large settling
ponds or other siltation structures from drainageways after
disturbed areas are revegetated and stabilized and depositing
the silt and debris at a site and in a manner approved by the
(E) Restoring recharge capacity of the mined area to
approximate premining conditions.
(F) Avoiding channel deepening or enlargement in
operations requiring the discharge of water from mines.
(G) Other actions required under the permit.
(14) With respect to surface disposal of mine wastes, tailings,
coal processing wastes, and other wastes in areas other than the
mine workings or excavations, the following:
(A) Stabilize all waste piles in designated areas through
construction in compacted layers, including the use of
incombustible and impervious materials if necessary.
(B) Assure the following:
(i) The final contour of the waste pile will be compatible
with natural surroundings.
(ii) The site will be stabilized and revegetated according
to this article.
(15) Refrain from surface coal mining within five hundred
(500) feet of active and abandoned underground mines to
prevent breakthroughs and to protect the health or safety of
miners. However, the director shall permit an operator to mine
near, through, or partially through an abandoned underground
mine or closer to an active underground mine if the following
(A) The nature, timing, and sequencing of the approximate
coincidence of specific coal surface mining activities with
specific underground coal mining activities are jointly
approved by the regulatory authorities concerned with
surface coal mining regulation and the health and safety of
(B) The operations will result in:
(i) improved resource recovery;
(ii) abatement of water pollution; or
(iii) elimination of hazards to the health and safety of the
(16) Design, locate, construct, operate, maintain, enlarge,
modify, and remove or abandon, in accordance with the
standards and criteria used by the United States Secretary of the
Interior to ensure that flood control structures are safe and
effectively perform their functions, all existing and new coal
mine waste piles:
(A) consisting of:
(i) mine wastes;
(iii) coal processing wastes; or
(iv) other liquid and solid wastes; and
(B) used temporarily or permanently as dams or
(17) Ensure the following:
(A) All debris, acid-forming materials, toxic materials, or
materials constituting a fire hazard are treated, buried, and
compacted or otherwise disposed of in a manner designed to
prevent contamination of ground or surface water.
(B) Contingency plans are developed to prevent sustained
(18) Ensure that explosives are used only in accordance with
(A) IC 14-34-12.
(B) Applicable state and federal law.
(C) The rules adopted by the commission.
(19) Ensure that all reclamation efforts proceed in an
environmentally sound manner and as contemporaneously as
practicable with the surface coal mining operations. However,
if the applicant proposes to combine surface coal mining
operations with underground coal mining operations to assure
maximum practical recovery of the mineral resources, the
director may grant a variance for specific areas within the
reclamation plan from the requirement that reclamation efforts
proceed as contemporaneously as practicable and permit
underground coal mining operations before reclamation if the
following conditions are met:
(A) The director finds in writing the following:
(i) The applicant has presented, as part of the permit
application, specific, feasible plans for the proposed
underground mining operations.
(ii) The proposed underground mining operations are
necessary or desirable to assure maximum practical
recovery of the mineral resource and will avoid multiple
disturbance of the surface.
(iii) The applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the
plan for the underground coal mining operations conforms
to the requirements for underground coal mining in that
jurisdiction and that permits necessary for the
underground coal mining operations have been issued by
the appropriate authority.
(iv) The applicant has shown the areas proposed for the
variance are necessary for the implementation of the
proposed underground coal mining operations.
(v) Substantial adverse environmental damage, either
onsite or offsite, will not result from the delay in
completion of reclamation as required by this article.
(vi) The provisions for the offsite storage of spoil will
comply with subdivision (25).
(B) The commission has adopted specific rules to govern the
granting of variances in accordance with this subdivision.
(C) Variances granted under this subdivision are to be
reviewed by the director not more than three (3) years from
the date of issuance of the permit.
(D) Liability under the bond filed by the applicant with the
director under IC 14-34-6 is for the duration of underground
coal mining operations and until the requirements of this
section and IC 14-34-6 are fully complied with.
(20) Ensure that the construction, maintenance, and postmining
conditions of access roads into and across the site of operations
will control or prevent the following:
(A) Erosion and siltation.
(B) Pollution of water.
(C) Damage to the following:
(i) Fish or wildlife or their habitat.
(ii) Public or private property.
(21) Refrain from the construction of roads or other access
(A) up a stream bed or drainage channel; or
(B) in the proximity of a channel;
that seriously alters the normal flow of water.
(22) Establish on the regraded areas and all other land affected
a diverse, an effective, and a permanent vegetative cover:
(A) of the same seasonal variety native to the area of land to
be affected; and
(B) that is capable of self-regeneration and plant succession
at least equal in extent of cover to the natural vegetation of
However, an introduced species may be used in the revegetation
process where desirable and necessary to achieve the approved
postmining land use plan.
(23) Assume the responsibility for successful revegetation, as
required by subdivision (22), as follows:
(A) On lands not eligible for remining, for five (5) full years
after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing,
irrigation, or other work to assure compliance with
subdivision (22). However, if the director approves a long
term intensive agricultural postmining land use, the
applicable five (5) or ten (10) year period of responsibility
for revegetation commences at the date of initial planting for
the long term intensive agricultural postmining land use. If
the director issues a written finding approving a long term
intensive agricultural postmining land use as part of the
mining and reclamation plan, the director may grant
exception to subdivision (22).
(B) On lands eligible for remining, for two (2) full years
after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing,
irrigation, or other work in order to ensure compliance with
(24) Protect offsite areas from slides or damage occurring
during the surface coal mining and reclamation operations and
not deposit spoil material or locate any part of the operations or
waste accumulations outside the permit area.
(25) Place all excess spoil material resulting from coal surface
mining and reclamation activities to ensure the following:
(A) Spoil is transported and placed in a controlled manner in
a position for concurrent compaction and in a manner that
assures mass stability and prevents mass movement.
(B) The areas of disposal are within the bonded permit areas
and all organic matter is removed immediately before spoil
(C) Appropriate surface and internal drainage systems and
diversion ditches are used in a manner that prevents spoil
erosion and movement.
(D) The disposal area does not contain springs, natural
watercourses, or wet weather seeps unless lateral drains are
constructed from the wet areas to the main underdrains in a
manner that prevents filtration of the water into the spoil
(E) If placed on a slope, the spoil is placed as follows:
(i) On the most moderate slope among the slopes on
which, in the judgment of the director, the spoil could be
placed in compliance with all the requirements of this
(ii) If possible, upon or above a natural terrace, bench, or
berm if the placement provides additional stability and
prevents mass movement.
(F) Where the toe of the spoil rests on a downslope, a rock
toe buttress of sufficient size to prevent mass movement is
(G) The final configuration is compatible with the natural
drainage pattern and surroundings and suitable for intended
(H) Design of the spoil disposal area is certified by an
engineer licensed under IC 25-31 and in conformance with
(I) All other provisions of this article are met.
(26) To the extent possible using the best technology currently
available the following:
(A) Minimize disturbances and adverse impacts of the
operation on fish, wildlife, and related environmental values.
(B) Enhance those resources where practicable.
(27) Provide for an undisturbed natural barrier:
(A) beginning at the elevation of the lowest coal seam to be
(B) extending from the outslope for a distance determined by
to serve as a barrier to slides and erosion.
(28) Replace the water supply of an owner of interest in real
property who obtains all or part of the owner's supply of water
for domestic, agricultural, industrial, or other legitimate use
from an underground or a surface source if the supply is
affected by contamination, diminution, or interruption
proximately resulting from the surface coal mine operation.
This article does not affect the right of a person to enforce or
protect under applicable law the person's interest in water
resources affected by a surface coal mining operation.
(29) Meet other criteria that are necessary to achieve
reclamation in accordance with the purposes of this article,
taking into consideration the physical, climatological, and other
characteristics of the site.
As added by P.L.1-1995, SEC.27. Amended by P.L.179-1995, SEC.6.
Sec. 3. (a) This section does not apply to the following:
(1) A permittee of a surface coal mining operation that is
mining on flat or gently rolling terrain with an occasional slope
as described in subsection (b) through which the coal mining
operation is to proceed.
(2) A permittee in compliance with section 4 of this chapter.
(b) In addition to the requirements of section 2 of this chapter, a
permittee operating a surface coal mining and reclamation operation
on a slope of at least twenty degrees (20°), unless the director
establishes a lesser slope after consideration of Indiana's soil,
climate, and other pertinent characteristics, shall do the following:
(1) Ensure that, when performing surface coal mining on steep
slopes, debris, abandoned or disabled equipment, spoil material,
or waste mineral matter is not placed on the downslope below
the bench or mining cut. However, spoil material exceeding that
required for the reconstruction of the approximate original
(A) section 2(b)(4) of this chapter; or
(B) subdivision (2);
shall be permanently stored under section 2(b)(25) of this
(2) Complete backfilling with spoil material that:
(A) maintains stability following mining and reclamation;
(B) completely covers the highwall;
and return the site to the approximate original contour.
(3) Not disturb land above the top of the highwall unless the
director finds the disturbance will facilitate compliance with the
standards of this chapter. However, the land disturbed above the
highwall is limited to that amount necessary to facilitate
compliance with those standards.
As added by P.L.1-1995, SEC.27.
Mining permitted without regard to restoring land to original
Sec. 4. (a) The director may, under procedures established by rule,
permit surface coal mining operations if:
(1) an industrial, a commercial, an agricultural, a residential, a
recreational, or a public facility is proposed for the postmining
use of the affected land; and
(2) the mining operation will remove an entire coal seam
running through the upper fraction of a ridge or hill, except as
provided in subsection (c)(1), by:
(A) removing all of the overburden; and
(B) creating a level plateau or a gently rolling contour;
(i) with no highwalls remaining; and
(ii) capable of supporting the postmining uses listed in
without regard to the requirement to restore the affected land to the
approximate original contour as set forth in section 2(b)(4), 3(b)(2),
or 3(b)(3) of this chapter.
(b) The director may permit the proposed uses under subsection
(a) only if the following conditions are met:
(1) After consultation with the appropriate land use planning
agencies, if any, the proposed postmining land use is considered
an equal or a better economic or public use of the affected land
compared with the premining use.
(2) The applicant presents specific plans for the proposed
postmining land use and appropriate assurances that the use
meets the following conditions:
(A) The use is compatible with adjacent land uses.
(B) The use is obtainable according to data regarding
expected need and market.
(C) The use is assured of investment in necessary public
(D) The use is supported by commitments from public
agencies where appropriate.
(E) The use is practicable with respect to private financial
capability for completion of the proposed use.
(F) The use is planned according to a schedule attached to
the reclamation plan so as to integrate the mining operation
and reclamation with the postmining land use.
(G) The use is designed by an engineer licensed under
IC 25-31 and in conformance with professional standards
established to assure the stability, drainage, and
configuration necessary for the intended use of the site.
(3) The proposed use is consistent with adjacent land uses and
existing state and local land use plans and programs.
(4) The governing body of the unit of general purpose
government in which the land is located and a state or federal
agency that the director determines to have an interest in the
proposed use is provided an opportunity of not more than sixty
(60) days to review and comment on the proposed use.
(5) All other requirements of this article are met.
(c) With respect to a permit granted under subsection (a) and in
addition to other requirements the commission establishes by rule,
the director shall require the following:
(1) The toe of the lowest coal seam and the overburden
associated with the seam are retained in place as a barrier to
slides and erosion.
(2) The reclaimed area is stable.
(3) The resulting plateau or rolling contour drains inward from
the outslopes except at specified points.
(4) No damage is done to natural watercourses.
(5) Spoil is placed on the hilltop bench as is necessary to
achieve the planned postmining land use and the operator places
all excess spoil material not retained on the hilltop in
accordance with section 2(b)(25) of this chapter.
(6) The operator ensures stability of the spoil retained on the
hilltop and meets all other requirements of this article.
(d) The director shall review all permits issued under this section
not more than three (3) years from the date of issuance unless the
applicant affirmatively demonstrates that the proposed development
is proceeding in accordance with the terms of the approved schedule
and reclamation plan.
As added by P.L.1-1995, SEC.27.
Conditions for variance
Sec. 5. (a) The director may grant a variance from the requirement
to restore to approximate original contour set forth in section 3(b)(2)
of this chapter if the following conditions exist:
(1) After approval of the appropriate state environmental
agencies, the watershed control of the area is improved.
(2) Complete backfilling with spoil materials that maintains
stability following mining and reclamation is required to
completely cover the highwall.
(3) The owner of the surface knowingly requests in writing, as
a part of the permit application, that a variance be granted so as
to make the land, after reclamation, suitable for an industrial, a
commercial, a residential, a public, or a recreational use.
(4) After consultation with the appropriate land use planning
agencies, if any:
(A) the potential use of the affected land constitutes an equal
or a better economic or public use; and
(B) the variance is designed and certified by a professional
engineer licensed under IC 25-31 and is in conformance with
professional standards established to assure the stability,
drainage, and configuration necessary for the intended use
of the site.
(b) With respect to a variance granted under subsection (a) or
under IC 13-4.1-8-4(a) (before its repeal) and in addition to other
requirements the commission establishes by rule, the director shall
require the following:
(1) Only the amount of spoil will be placed off the mine bench
as is necessary to achieve the planned postmining land use.
(2) Stability of the spoil retained on the bench is ensured.
(3) All spoil placement off the mine bench must comply with
section 2(b)(25) of this chapter.
(c) The director shall review all exceptions granted under this
section not more than three (3) years after the date of issuance of the
permit unless the permittee affirmatively demonstrates that the
proposed development is proceeding in accordance with the terms of
the reclamation plan.
As added by P.L.1-1995, SEC.27.