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Mineral Ass'ns Coalition v. State Mining & Geology Bd.

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20070
Nos. No. C049201, (Cal. App. 3d Dist., 04/12/2006)

The court upholds a California state mining board regulation that requires the Director of the Department of Conservation to concur in any lead agency determination that a mine operator has fulfilled the terms of his reclamation plan and that the financial assurance instruments securing his obligation to reclaim lands may be released. Pursuant to court precedent, the Director has both the authority and responsibility to ensure that mined lands are reclaimed in accordance with an approved reclamation plan and that financial assurances are not released prematurely. Moreover, because the legislature granted the board express authority to determine the circumstances under which no financial assurances need be posted to ensure reclamation of mined lands, it logically follows that it also intended the board to have the implied authority to issue regulations that pertain to the circumstances under which financial assurances already in place may be lifted upon the completion of reclamation. The regulation, therefore, falls within the state mining board's authority and is consistent with the California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act.