Illinois Law Addresses Underground Inspections; Reclamation Bonds

The Illinois legislature passed, and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 123, a joint initiative of the Illinois Association of Aggregates Producers (IAAP) and the Illinois Department of Natural ResourcesDepartment of Natural Resources (IDNR).

The bill repeals the Fluorspar and Underground Limestone Mines Act, which governed the operations of mining of minerals in Illinois, and amends the Surface-Mined Land Conservation and Reclamation Act. It changes certain provisions concerning the amount of any bond that is required to be filed with the Department of Natural Resources by an operator.

The bill also:

  • Provides that the penalty of such bonds shall be an amount between $600 and $10,000 (was between $600 and $5,000) per acre as determined by the Director of Natural Resources for lands to be affected by surface mining, including slurry and gob disposal areas.
  • Provides that, under circumstances where a written agreement between the operator and a third party require overburden to be removed, replaced, graded, and seeded in a manner that the necessary bond penalty exceeds $10,000 per acre, the Department shall require a bond amount sufficient to ensure the completion of the reclamation plan specified in the approved permit in the event of forfeiture.
  • Provides that in no case shall the bond for the entire area under one permit be less than $600 per acre or $3,000, whichever is greater.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. (D–Elwood).

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