(a) This section does not apply to:
(1) Lands for which a person has valid existing rights, as determined under § 761.16.
(2) Lands within the scope of the exception for existing operations in § 761.12.
(3) Access or haul roads that join a public road, as described in § 761.11(d)(1).
(b) You must obtain any necessary approvals from the authority with jurisdiction over the road if you propose to:
(1) Relocate a public road;
(2) Close a public road; or
(3) Conduct surface coal mining operations within 100 feet, measured horizontally, of the outside right-of-way line of a public road.
(c) Before approving an action proposed under paragraph (b) of this section, the regulatory authority, or a public road authority that it designates, must determine that the interests of the public and affected landowners will be protected. Before making this determination, the authority must:
(1) Provide a public comment period and opportunity to request a public hearing in the locality of the proposed operation;
(2) If a public hearing is requested, publish appropriate advance notice at least two weeks before the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected locality; and
(3) Based upon information received from the public, make a written finding as to whether the interests of the public and affected landowners will be protected. If a hearing was held, the authority must make this finding within 30 days after the hearing. If no hearing was held, the authority must make this finding within 30 days after the end of the public comment period.
[64 FR 70833, Dec. 17, 1999]