(225 ILCS 715/17) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 4520)
    Sec. 17. a. The Director and the Land Reclamation Division within the Department of Natural Resources shall have the power and duty to act as the regulatory authority for the State of Illinois, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, P.L. 95-87, (hereinafter sometimes referred to as the "Federal Law") Section 502, and, to the extent required by P.L. 95-87, Section 510 (d), with respect to the initial regulatory program, and for purposes of formal State program development under Section 503.
    b. The regulatory authority is authorized to: (i) hold hearings, (ii) undertake inspections, (iii) file inspection reports, (iv) require compliance with and enforce initial performance standards contained in Section 502(c) of the Federal Law including, as deemed appropriate, the conditioning of new and existing permits with lawfully imposed requirements no more stringent than Federal Law and regulations; (v) make determinations under Section 510(d) and otherwise to comply with and administer the initial regulatory program, (vi) adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary or appropriate to the purposes of this Section; and (vii) apply for, accept, receive, receipt for and use for and in behalf of the State such moneys or property as are given or granted by the Federal Government under the Federal Law or any other federal law, or from any other lawful public or private source, for the purposes of developing, administering or enforcing the Federal Law or this Act, and otherwise for mined land reclamation purposes, provided that such funds received shall be deposited with the State Treasurer and held and disbursed by him in accordance with "An Act in relation to the receipt, custody, and disbursement of money allotted by the United States of America or any agency thereof for use in this State", approved July 3, 1939, as amended, and provided that such moneys or property shall be used only for the purposes for which they are contributed. Adoption of rules and regulations authorized by this Section shall be pursuant to Section 5-35 of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.
    c. No person shall open, develop or operate a surface coal mining operation (including an underground operation) as defined in P.L. 95-87, Section 701(28), without a permit from the regulatory authority. The Director may provide for a reasonable implementation schedule for this permit requirement, consistent with the administration of the Federal Law.
    d. Standards used and conditions imposed in the administration and enforcement of this Section shall be no more stringent than required by the Federal Law and federal regulations thereunder. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to require a determination or finding pursuant to subsection 510(d) of the Federal Law, as to any permit issued prior to August 3, 1977, or to any revisions or renewals thereof, or to any existing surface mining operations for which a permit was issued (or, in the case of underground mines, for which a notice of mine opening was filed pursuant to Section 3.06 of the Coal Mining Act), prior to August 3, 1977.
    e. If an application for a permit discloses, or if the regulatory authority or the Illinois Department of Agriculture have reason to believe that a surface coal mining operation subject to determination under Section 510(d) of the Federal Law contains prime farm land, as defined by subsection 701(20) of the Federal Law, then, in addition to other requirements of the Federal Law, the determination of the regulatory authority under Section 510(d) of the Federal Law respecting whether a permit shall be granted shall be made only after written consideration of any comments which may be made by the Interagency Committee on Surface Mining Control and Reclamation.
    f. (1) The Interagency Committee on Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation ("the Interagency Committee") shall consist of the Director (or Division head) of each of the following State agencies: (1) the Department of Agriculture, (2) the Environmental Protection Agency, (3) the Division of Water Resources in the Department of Natural Resources, (4) the Department of Natural Resources, and (5) any other State agency designated by the regulatory authority as having a programmatic role in the review or regulation of surface coal mining operations whose comments are expected by the regulatory authority to be relevant and of material benefit to the review process.
    (2) The Interagency Committee shall review and comment on permit applications concerning protection of the hydrologic system, water pollution control, reclamation plans and soil handling techniques, dams and impoundments, and postmining land use regarding mining operations subject to prime farm land determinations under Section 510(d)(1) pursuant to the Federal Law.
    (3) Upon receipt of a complete application for a permit, the regulatory authority shall provide each agency which is a member of the Interagency Committee with a copy thereof. Each Committee member shall prepare its proposed response and comments to the application within 45 days, and shall forward same to the regulatory authority. Comments shall be based upon factual, legal, and technical considerations, and such considerations shall be stated in the comment. The comments of the Interagency Committee shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of each County in which surface mining subject to the application is proposed to take place. Whenever a County Board may request a hearing on a reclamation plan pursuant to Section 5(f) of the Act, and the application is also made subject to Interagency Committee review and comment by this Section 17, then, notwithstanding time limits on County Board action pursuant to Section 5(f) and 5(g) of this Act, the County Board shall have 30 days from the date of filing of the Interagency Comments with the County Clerk in which either to request a public hearing under Section 5(f) and Section 17, or, alternatively to file written comments, recommendations and affidavits concerning the reclamation plan and the other subjects of Interagency Committee review under this Section 17. In addition to other relevant information, the regulatory authority shall consider all comments, recommendations, testimony and evidence presented at the public hearing or by written submittal of a County Board, prior to and in connection with its final action. The regulatory authority may consult with the applicant, the relevant County Board, appropriate Interagency Committee members, and may seek qualified advice of other technically trained experts, concerning standards and conditions of the permit necessary or appropriate to comply with this Act and regulations. The applicant may furnish supplemental information in support or modification of its application, provided that interested parties are given a reasonable opportunity to comment thereon. Final action on the application shall occur within 120 days of initial receipt of a complete application, unless time for such action is waived by the applicant, or unless, as to operations subject to the requirements of Section 4 of the Act, the time for final action is otherwise tolled pursuant to the Act or regulations thereunder. If no final action occurs within the time in which final action is required, the applicant, upon written notice to the regulatory authority, may deem the application denied, and such denial shall constitute final action. The regulatory authority shall set forth the factual, technical and legal basis for its final action as part of the record. Review of any such final action shall be in accordance with the Administrative Review Law, as amended.
    g. Violation of the Act (including this Section), or of the terms of any permit, or of any regulation adopted under this Section or otherwise under the Act shall, in addition to other penalties provided by the Act, be punishable, after notice of the violation alleged and opportunity for a hearing, by modification, suspension or revocation of a permit by the Director. In case the Director receives information of an emergency posing a serious immediate threat of significant harm to life, public health or safety, property or the environment, permit suspension may be immediate, subject to a prompt hearing and decision. The regulatory authority is authorized to undertake, cooperate with, and participate in enforcement activity under the Federal Law, as deemed appropriate to the purposes of this Act and the Federal Law.
    h. The regulatory authority may delegate responsibilities, other than final action on permits, to other State agencies, with the consent of such agencies, and the regulatory authority may contract with any State officer or agency, to administer such responsibilities hereunder as may be deemed necessary and appropriate to provide for effective administration of this Section taking into account the need to have efficient administration hereof, without unreasonable or unnecessary cost or duplication of effort, and taking into account the need to deliver fair and effective governmental service to the interested public.
    i. The Director shall implement and enforce regulations to assure that no person employed by the regulatory authority performing any function or duty under this Section shall have a direct or indirect financial interest in underground or surface coal mining operations, in violation of the Federal Law.
    j. Surface coal mining operations subject to the permit requirement of Section 4 of this Act shall comply with all requirements of this Act, including this Section. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit the authority of a County board under Section 5(f) of the Act. Surface coal mining operations subject to this Section, for which no permit is required under Section 4 of this Act, shall be subject to Sections 2, 3, 5a, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 13(a), 15 and 16 of this Act, as well as this Section. The regulatory authority shall administer the permit requirements of Section 4 and this Act jointly, so as to require only one permit of an operator of a surface mining operation. In case of a conflict between permit requirements or regulations under other Sections of this Act and this Section, this Section and standards, conditions, rules and regulations adopted or imposed pursuant to this Section, shall control; no standard or condition imposed pursuant to this Section shall be less stringent than imposed by other Sections of this Act, or regulations thereunder.
    k. The Interagency Committee shall hold meetings for the purpose of reviewing other regulatory and permit requirements imposed by state and federal law upon owners and operators of surface coal mining operations, with a view to, and, to the extent lawful and appropriate, for the purpose of the joint consideration and determination of NPDES and other permit applications required of owners and operators of surface coal mining operations, to make as effective as possible a unified permit system requiring a single application and final determination of the State agencies involved.
    l. The enactment hereof shall not be construed to limit the effect of any other remedy or other requirement of State or Federal laws, except as expressly provided herein.
(Source: P.A. 88-45; 89-445, eff. 2-7-96.)