Section 378.901, Florida Statutes 2009
378.901 Life-of-the-mine permit.--
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) "Bureau" means the Bureau of Mine Reclamation of the Division of Water Resource Management of the Department of Environmental Protection.
(b) "Life-of-the-mine permit" means a permit authorizing activities regulated under part IV of chapter 373 and part IV of this chapter.
(2) As an alternative to, and in lieu of, separate applications for permits required by part IV of chapter 373 and part IV of this chapter, each operator who proposes to mine or extract heavy minerals or fuller's earth clay may apply to the bureau for a life-of-the-mine permit.
(3) The bureau may also issue life-of-the-mine permits to operators of sand mines as part of the consideration for conveyance to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of environmentally sensitive lands in an amount equal to or greater than the acreage included in the life-of-the-mine permit and provided such environmentally sensitive lands are contiguous to or within reasonable proximity to the lands included in the life-of-the-mine permit.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 378.405, an application for a life-of-the-mine permit must be reviewed as follows:
(a) Within 30 days after receipt of an application for a permit under this section, the bureau shall review the application and shall request submittal of any additional information that the bureau requires. If the operator believes that the bureau is not authorized by law or rule to require any of the requested additional information, the operator may request a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57. Within 30 days after receipt of the additional information, the bureau shall review it and may further request only that information needed to clarify the additional information or to answer new questions raised by or directly related to the additional information.
(b) If the operator believes that any further request of the bureau for information is not authorized by law or agency rule, the bureau, at the operator's request, shall proceed to process the permit application.
(c) A life-of-the-mine permit must be approved or denied by the bureau within 135 days after receipt of the original completed application, receipt of the timely requested additional information, or correction of errors or omissions. The 135-day period must be tolled in accordance with s. 120.60.
(5)(a) In determining whether to issue a life-of-the-mine permit or to approve an application for a modification to an existing life-of-the-mine permit, the bureau shall apply, and its authority shall be limited by, the relevant criteria in, and rules adopted under, part IV of chapter 373 and part IV of this chapter. The issuance of a life-of-the-mine permit relieves the operator from the requirement to obtain separate construction and operation permits. To the extent that a life-of-the-mine permit authorizes discharges regulated pursuant to s. 1 of Pub. L. No. 92-500, the permit may constitute State of Florida certification thereunder.
(b) Wetlands reclamation activities under this part shall mitigate impacts to wetlands so long as the activities comply with s. 373.414(6).
(6) The department may adopt only those rules that are necessary to describe the procedural requirements for the submittal and review of an application for a life-of-the-mine permit. The department may not adopt rules that separately set forth new substantive criteria for a life-of-the-mine permit except rules necessary to eliminate conflicting or duplicative provisions.
(7) A life-of-the-mine permit is valid for the period designated in the application as the estimated life-of-the-mine. Notwithstanding the issuance of a life-of-the-mine permit, the department may release lands pursuant to s. 378.407 prior to the expiration of the life-of-the-mine permit.
(8) The fee for a life-of-the-mine permit application shall equal the aggregate of the application fees for separate permits that authorize the activities covered by the life-of-the-mine permit, except that the application fee for a life-of-the-mine permit which exceeds 25 years shall be the fee for a permit which equals 25 years plus an additional amount for each year over 25 years equal to the pro rata share of a 25-year permit fee.
(9) Each operator of a mine that has received construction approval in accordance with s. 403.087, s. 403.088, former part VIII of chapter 403, or part IV of chapter 373 in response to an application which was submitted prior to July 1, 1995, may elect either to seek renewal of that permit or to seek a life-of-the-mine permit for all new or existing activities that require a permit. Life-of-the-mine permit applications for existing fuller's earth mining activities must be reviewed as set forth in s. 373.414(15).
(10) At the election and request of the applicant, the department shall coordinate and integrate the processing of industrial wastewater discharge permit applications and federally delegated National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System permit applications with the life-of-the-mine permit application. The bureau shall initiate and oversee coordination of such applications with the goal of conducting a comprehensive and concurrent evaluation of the mine.
History.--s. 1, ch. 95-215; s. 112, ch. 96-410; s. 7, ch. 97-222; s. 184, ch. 99-13; s. 3, ch. 99-353.