Section 378.208, Florida Statutes 2001
378.208 Financial responsibility.--
(1) An operator of a mine shall provide appropriate financial assurance to the state that the reclamation of lands subject to the mandatory reclamation obligation will be completed in a timely manner. Compliance with the rate of reclamation established in s. 378.209 is deemed to be appropriate financial assurance.
(2) Operators who are not in compliance with the rate of reclamation established in s. 378.209 must post one or more of the following forms of security:
(a) A lien in favor of the state on unmined lands or on reclaimed and released real property owned in fee simple absolute by the operator. No formal appraisal of the property shall be required; however, the unencumbered value of the property shall be comparable to the cost of reclamation established pursuant to subsection (3).
(b) A surety bond in either a fixed amount, adjusted annually for inflation, or in an amount to be determined based upon projected reclamation costs at the time the security is purchased.
(c) A letter of credit in either a fixed amount, adjusted annually for inflation, or in an amount to be determined based upon projected reclamation costs at the time the security is purchased.
(d) A donation of land acceptable to the state whereby every acre donated would relieve the company of the obligation to bond or otherwise provide security for the reclamation of acres mined, based on a ratio of 1 acre donated to cover the financial responsibility for 10 or more acres of mined lands. This donation would not relieve the operator of the obligation to reclaim.
(e) A cash deposit or trust fund payable to the state in a fixed amount, adjusted annually for inflation, or in an amount to be determined based upon projected reclamation costs at the time the cash deposit or trust fund is established.
(f) Any combination of the financial assurance methods allowed in paragraphs (a)-(e).
The form of security posted shall be at the option of the operator and shall cover the number of acres for which the operator is delinquent in reclaiming in the required time period as well as the number of acres that the operator must reclaim in the current 5-year period. The security, other than the donation of land, shall be released upon completion of reclamation of delinquent acres.
(3) The amount of financial responsibility shall be established by the secretary and shall not exceed $4,000 per acre for each reclamation program, adjusted annually by the appropriate inflationary index for construction. The Department of Insurance shall be available to assist the secretary in making this determination. In establishing the amount of financial responsibility, the secretary shall consider:
(a) The amount and type of reclamation involved.
(b) The probable cost of proper reclamation.
(c) Inflation rates.
(d) Changes in mining operations.
(4) The department shall adopt rules which establish:
(a) Procedures to establish, modify, or release the security posted.
(b) Procedures and criteria for modifications to or exemptions from the financial responsibility requirements when such modifications will not conflict with the purposes of this part, including consideration of such factors as the size or nature of the operation, demonstrated reclamation performance, and compliance with conceptual reclamation plans or reclamation programs approved prior to October 1, 1986.
(5) The department, by rule, may require each operator to submit a copy of its most recent annual financial statements. An operator's submittal of its annual report on Form 10-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, shall constitute compliance with this requirement. The financial statement submitted pursuant to rules authorized by this subsection, except for a financial statement that is a public record in the custody of another governmental agency, shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), and the department shall ensure the confidentiality of such statements.
History.--s. 1, ch. 86-294; s. 13, ch. 89-117; s. 115, ch. 90-360; s. 322, ch. 94-356; s. 182, ch. 96-406; s. 54, ch. 2000-158; s. 10, ch. 2000-211.