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§ 30.56e. Procedures

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 52 P.S. Mines and MiningEffective: September 10, 2011

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 52 P.S. Mines and Mining (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 2. Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act (Refs & Annos)
Effective: September 10, 2011
52 P.S. § 30.56e
§ 30.56e. Procedures
(a) A well operator who intends to drill a coal bed methane well or construct an access road associated with a coal bed methane well shall provide written notification to the surface owner in the manner prescribed in section 201(b) of the act of December 19, 1984 (P.L. 1140, No. 223),1 known as the “Oil and Gas Act.” The notification shall also include the following statement on a form provided by the Department of Environmental Protection in at least twelve-point print:
Right to Participate in
Alternative Dispute Resolution
You have the right to have your objections to the well operator's proposed location of the well or of the access road associated with the well heard and decided by the three-member Coal Bed Methane Review Board, created under the act of __________, 2009 (P.L. ___, No. ___), known as the “Coal Bed Methane Well Dispute Resolution Act.” You may participate with or without a lawyer in any conference session the board may hold to hear your objections.
Important: To exercise this right, you must file your objections in writing with the Coal Bed Methane Review Board through the Department of Environmental Protection at:
(Address)
(City, State, Zip)
within fifteen days of the date you received this notification. Otherwise, you will be considered to have waived this right to resolve your objections through the Coal Bed Methane Review Board. Your objection may be filed in person or by certified mail.
(b) A surface owner who intends to invoke alternative dispute resolution shall file written objections to the well operator's proposed location for the coal bed methane well or access road with the board within fifteen days of the date of receipt of the written notification and plat described in subsection (a). The written objections may indicate an alternative location at which the proposed coal bed methane well could be drilled or the access road could be located to overcome the objections. If no objections are filed in the time prescribed in this subsection, the Department of Environmental Protection shall accept an application from the operator and proceed to issue or deny that the well permit, provided that the department shall not accept a well permit application unless the applicant demonstrates that the notification requirements of subsection (a) have been satisfied.
(c) If objections are filed by a surface owner pursuant to subsection (b), an employee of the Department of Environmental Protection responsible for receiving such objections on behalf of the board shall, within two days, notify the operator and the board of the objections, and the board shall fix a time and place for holding the dispute resolution conference and shall notify the surface owner and well operator of the time and place where the conference will be held. The conference shall be scheduled to commence not more than ten business days from the date of service of the objections on the well operator, provided, however, that, if the board cannot be fully convened for a conference within this time, the conference shall be scheduled to commence on the earliest reasonable date in which the board can be fully convened, but no later than fifteen business days from the date of the service of the objections on the well operator. For purposes of this section, the term “fully convened” shall mean the participation of all three members of the board. The conference shall be held at the applicable regional or district office of the Department of Environmental Protection closest to the tract which is the subject of the objection. The board may use, and the Department of Environmental Protection shall provide, clerical assistance and the use of regional or district offices for the board in conducting conference sessions.
(d) At the conference the well operator and surface owner or owners as are present or represented shall consider the objections and attempt to agree upon a location for the coal bed methane well or access road. The board may hold more than one conference session. The conference shall be completed within ten business days of the date that the conference is originally commenced. However, the board, in its sole discretion, may extend the time for completion of the conference by an additional five business days, and the parties to the conference may extend the time for completion of the conference to a date mutually agreed upon. Any agreement reached at the conference shall be consistent with the requirements of the “Oil and Gas Act” and shall be reduced to writing by the board and submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection within ten business days of the date that the conference is completed. Upon receipt of notice that the board's conference resulted in a mutual agreement between the operator and the surface owner, the Department of Environmental Protection shall accept an application with a plat showing the agreed-upon location of the coal bed methane well and access road from the operator and shall proceed to issue or deny the well permit. If the parties to the conference before the board fail to agree upon a location of the coal bed methane well or access road or if only the party requesting review participates in the conference, the board shall make a determination in writing establishing a location of the coal bed methane well or access road that, in the judgment of the majority of the board, will cause only those surface impairments that are reasonably necessary for purposes of extracting the underlying coal bed methane. Issuance of the written determination shall be made within ten business days of the date of completion of the conference and shall be served on the date of issuance by certified mail upon the surface owner, the well operator and the Department of Environmental Protection. Within fifteen business days of the date of completion of the conference, the board shall issue a written statement setting forth findings of fact and reasons in support of its determination and shall serve copies of the written statement by certified mail upon the surface owner, the well operator and the Department of Environmental Protection. Failure by the board to issue the written statement of findings of fact and reasons in support of its determination within the prescribed period of fifteen business days shall not preclude an aggrieved person from exercising the right of appeal to a court of common pleas as provided under subsection (f). If no appeal of the board' s determination is filed under subsection (f), the Department of Environmental Protection shall accept an application with a plat showing the location of the coal bed methane well and access road as determined by the board from the operator and shall proceed to issue or deny the well permit.
(e) Any determination by the board, made under subsection (d), shall be binding on the Department of Environmental Protection. The board's determination shall not limit or otherwise affect the Department of Environmental Protection's regulatory authority under the “Oil and Gas Act,” the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L. 1987, No. 394),2 known as “The Clean Streams Law,” or any other applicable law administered by the department.
(f) Any person aggrieved by a determination of the board issued under subsection (d) shall have the right, within fifteen days of receipt of the written or final determination, to appeal the determination to the court of common pleas in the judicial district in which the affected property is located. A copy of the appeal shall be served upon all the parties to the conference. The board or the Department of Environmental Protection shall not be a party to the appeal. The court shall hold a hearing on the appeal within thirty days of filing of the appeal and shall render its decision in the appeal within sixty days of filing of the appeal. In any appeal, the only issue to be determined by the court is whether the location of the disputed coal bed methane well or access road, as the case may be, determined by the board, will cause only those surface impairments that are reasonably necessary for purposes of extracting the underlying coal bed methane. If the court agrees that the board's determination meets this standard, it shall affirm the board's determination. If the court determines that the board's determination does not meet this standard, it shall issue an order indicating the location of the disputed coal bed methane well or access road, as the case may be, that, in the opinion of the court, will cause only those surface impairments that are reasonably necessary for purposes of extracting the underlying coal bed methane. Upon issuance of an order by the court, the Department of Environmental Protection shall accept an application from the operator and shall proceed to issue or deny the well permit.
(g) This section supersedes the ordinances and resolutions of political subdivisions dealing with material regulated by this section.
(h) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to affect, limit or impair any enforcement action taken by the Department of Environmental Protection under the act of December 19, 1984 (P.L. 1140, No. 223),3 known as the “Oil and Gas Act.”
(i) Nothing in this section precludes a person from seeking other remedies allowed by statute, common law, deed or contract, nor does this section diminish or alter rights previously established or granted by statute, common law, deed or contract.

Credits

1968, Sept. 24, P.L. 1040, No. 318, § 6.5, added 2010, Feb. 1, P.L. 126, No. 4, § 4, effective Sept. 10, 2011.

Footnotes

58 P.S. § 601.201 (repealed); see now, 58 Pa.C.S.A. § 3211.
35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq.
58 P.S. § 601.101 et seq. (repealed); see now, 58 Pa.C.S.A. § 3201 et seq.
52 P.S. § 30.56e, PA ST 52 P.S. § 30.56e
Current through Act 4 of the 2024 Regular Session. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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