THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT
MINING AND RECLAMATION
12-E:2 Duties of the Commissioner.
The commissioner shall:
I. Coordinate, schedule, and facilitate a pre-application meeting upon the receipt of a request from a potential permit applicant. The pre-application process shall be open to public input upon request of the applicant.
II. Evaluate and approve or deny all mining permit applications or amendments thereto. Upon denial or conditional approval of the application, the commissioner shall state the reasons for such determination in writing. All applications shall be acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt and processed in accordance with RSA 541-A:29, provided the commissioner shall have in all circumstances at least 30 days to complete the processing of the application from the later date on which the applicant certifies and submits all applicable local, state, and federal permits and approvals as required under RSA 12-E:4, VI(h), or files a financial assurance plan in accordance with RSA 12-E:6. The commissioner may extend the processing timeframe on request of the applicant.
III. Have the authority to suspend or revoke any permit issued pursuant to this chapter for failure to comply with the permit or for noncompliance with this chapter or rules adopted pursuant to this chapter. The commissioner may also suspend or revoke any permit issued pursuant to this chapter if he or she concludes that the operator lacks sufficient managerial, technical, or financial resources to conduct mining activities in continuing compliance with the terms and conditions of any permit and in accordance with this chapter and applicable rules.
IV. Supervise the leasing of state-owned lands for mining operations pursuant to RSA 12-E:9.
V. Have the power to subpoena witnesses and administer oaths in any proceeding or examination instituted before or conducted by the commissioner, and to compel the production of any account books, contracts, records, engineering surveys, documents, memoranda, and papers of any kind necessary to implement this chapter.
VI. Prepare an annual report by January 1 of each year. Such report shall include the number and geographic distribution of sites in existence before August 24, 1979, permitted sites, and applications received during the past year, the acreage of the affected sites and permit sites, the names of the operators, corporate officers, and corporations operating such sites or making such applications, and such other information as will enable the actions of the commissioner and the status of mining in the state to be evaluated. The report shall be prepared in consultation with the state geologist and submitted to the governor and council.
VII. Make announced and unannounced inspections and investigations on any permit site to ensure compliance with the permit and the orderly operation of the mining plan in a responsible manner, and make inspections based on a citizen complaint. All inspections shall be conducted in the presence of the operator or his or her duly authorized employees or representatives, with such presence provided without undue delay.
VIII. Adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to:
(a) The form of the mining permit application.
(b) The form of application for renewal of the mining permit.
(c) The form of application for prospecting permits.
(d) Entry onto permit sites and adjacent properties.
(e) Emergency actions to halt mining operations for the public safety.
(f) Undertaking prospecting, mining, and reclamation activities in a manner to ensure public safety.
VIII-a. Confer with the commissioner of the department of environmental services relative to the requirements needed to protect the environment from the effects of prospecting, mining, and reclamation activities, and, to the extent the rulemaking authority of the department of environmental services is considered inadequate to address environmental or public health concerns that the commissioner and the commissioner of the department of environmental services agree are necessary to protect the environment or public health, adopt such rules. As a condition of invoking rulemaking authority under this paragraph, the department, in collaboration with the department of environmental services, shall provide a written report, 10 days prior to initiating rulemaking, detailing the necessity for the proposed rule as set forth in the rulemaking notice, to include any fiscal impact or policy implications related to the adoption of the proposed rule, to the house and senate executive departments and administration committees; the house and senate finance committees; the house environment and agriculture committee; the house resources, recreation and development committee; the house science, technology and energy committee; the senate energy and natural resources committee; the joint legislative committee on administrative rules; and the fiscal committee of the general court.
IX. Have the authority to perform closure activities on an affected site subject to a granted permit, as provided for in the financial assurance plan.
X. Provide technical assistance, conduct research, experiments, and demonstrations, and disseminate information resulting therefrom and receive federal, state, or other funds and allocate them for reclamation, education, or other research and assistance projects.
XI. Report any violation of a permit, or of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule adopted under this chapter, to the commissioner of the department of environmental services.
XII. Give notice to the commissioner of the department of environmental services of any proceeding to revoke, suspend, or modify any permit.
XIII. Give notice to the commissioner of the department of environmental services of any contemplated modification of any financial assurance plan required under this chapter.
Source. 1979, 467:1. 2010, 331:2. 2012, 171:2, eff. Aug. 10, 2012. 2015, 162:1, eff. Aug. 25, 2015.