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Illinois Compiled Statutes

Information maintained by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Updating the database of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) is an ongoing process. Recent laws may not yet be included in the ILCS database, but they are found on this site as Public Acts soon after they become law. For information concerning the relationship between statutes and Public Acts, refer to the Guide.

Because the statute database is maintained primarily for legislative drafting purposes, statutory changes are sometimes included in the statute database before they take effect. If the source note at the end of a Section of the statutes includes a Public Act that has not yet taken effect, the version of the law that is currently in effect may have already been removed from the database and you should refer to that Public Act to see the changes made to the current law.

(225 ILCS 720/) Surface Coal Mining Land Conservation and Reclamation Act.

225 ILCS 720/Art. III

    (225 ILCS 720/Art. III heading)

225 ILCS 720/3.01

    (225 ILCS 720/3.01) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.01)
    Sec. 3.01. General Requirement. Each person conducting surface mining operations shall as a minimum comply with all applicable performance standards set forth in this Article. Each permit issued under this Act to conduct surface mining operations shall require as a minimum that such operations meet all applicable performance standards set forth in this Article.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.02

    (225 ILCS 720/3.02) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.02)
    Sec. 3.02. Coal Utilization. Surface mining operations shall be conducted so as to maximize the utilization and conservation of the solid fuel resource being recovered so that reaffecting the land in the future through surface mining operations can be minimized.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.03

    (225 ILCS 720/3.03) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.03)
    Sec. 3.03. Land Use. Affected land shall be restored to a condition capable of supporting the uses which it was capable of supporting prior to any mining, or higher or better uses of which there is reasonable likelihood, so long as such use or uses do not present any actual or probable hazard to public health or safety or pose an actual or probable threat of water diminution or pollution. The permit applicant's declared proposed land use following reclamation shall not (1) be impractical or unreasonable, (2) be inconsistent with applicable land use policies and plans, (3) involve unreasonable delay in implementation, or (4) violate Federal, State, or local law.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.04

    (225 ILCS 720/3.04) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.04)
    Sec. 3.04. Grading. (a) Affected land shall be backfilled, compacted (where advisable to insure stability or to prevent leaching of toxic materials), and graded in order to restore the approximate original contour of the land. All highwalls, spoil piles, and depressions shall be eliminated (unless small depressions are needed in order to retain moisture, to assist revegetation, or as otherwise authorized under this Act).
    (b) In surface mining which is carried out at the same location over a period greater than one year where the operation transects the coal deposit, and the thickness of the coal deposits relative to the volume of the overburden is large and where the operator demonstrates that the overburden and other spoil and waste materials at a particular point in the permit area or otherwise available from the entire permit area are insufficient, giving due consideration to volumetric expansion, to restore the approximate original contour, the operator, at a minimum, shall backfill, grade, and compact (where advisable) using all available overburden and other spoil and mine waste materials to attain the lowest practicable grade, but not more than the angle of repose, to provide adequate drainage and to cover all acid-forming and other toxic materials, in order to achieve an ecologically sound land use compatible with the surrounding region.
    (c) Where the operator demonstrates that due to volumetric expansion the amount of overburden and other spoil and waste materials removed in the course of the mining operation is more than sufficient to restore the approximate original contour, the operator shall satisfy the requirements set forth in subsection (a) of this Section, and shall backfill, grade and compact (where advisable) the excess overburden and other spoil and waste materials to attain the lowest grade but not more than the angle of repose, and to cover all acid-forming and other toxic materials, in order to achieve an ecologically sound land use compatible with the surrounding region and such overburden and spoil shall be shaped and graded in such a way as to prevent slides, erosion, and water pollution, and shall be revegetated in accordance with the requirements of this Act.
    (d) Water impoundments which were not part of the original contour may be permitted by the Department under Section 3.08.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.05

    (225 ILCS 720/3.05) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.05)
    Sec. 3.05. Stabilization. All surface areas, including spoil piles, affected by the surface mining and reclamation operation shall be stabilized and protected to effectively control erosion and attendant air and water pollution.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.06

    (225 ILCS 720/3.06) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.06)
    Sec. 3.06. Topsoil. (a) The topsoil shall be removed from the land in a separate layer, replaced on the backfill area, or if not used immediately, segregated in a separate pile from other spoil. When the topsoil is not replaced on a backfill area within a time short enough to avoid deterioration of the topsoil, a successful cover shall be maintained by quick-growing plant or other means thereafter so that the topsoil is preserved from wind and water erosion, remains free of any contamination by other acid or toxic material, and is in usable condition for sustaining vegetation when restored during reclamation.
    (b) If topsoil is of insufficient quantity or of poor quality for sustaining vegetation, or if other strata or combinations of strata can be shown to be more suitable for vegetation requirements, then the operator shall remove, segregate, and preserve in a like manner such other strata which are best able to support vegetation.
    (c) The topsoil, or the best available subsoil or combination of soil which is best able to support vegetation, shall be restored.
    (d) The term "topsoil" shall be defined by the Department by rule. Such definition shall consider regional differences in conditions in this State.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.07

    (225 ILCS 720/3.07) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.07)
    Sec. 3.07. Prime Farmlands and High Capability Lands. (a) For all prime farmlands to be mined and reclaimed, the operator shall, as a minimum, (1) segregate the A horizon of the natural soil, except where it can be shown that other available soil materials will create a final soil having a greater productive capacity, and if not used immediately, stockpile this material separately from other spoil, and provide needed protection from wind and water erosion or contamination by other acid or toxic material; (2) segregate the B horizon of the natural soil, or underlying C horizons or other strata, or a combination of such horizons or other strata that are shown to be both texturally and chemically suitable for plant growth and that can be shown to be equally or more favorable for plant growth than the B horizon, in sufficient quantities to create in the regarded final soil a root zone of comparable depth and quality to that which existed in the natural soil, and if not used immediately, stockpile this material separately from other spoil, and provide needed protection from wind and water erosion or contamination by other acid or toxic material; (3) replace and regrade the root zone material described in (2) above with proper compaction and uniform depth over the regraded spoil material; and (4) redistribute and grade in a uniform manner the surface soil horizon described in subparagraph (1) above.
    (b) For all high capability lands to be mined and reclaimed, all or part of the darkened surface soil shall be segregated and replaced as a final cover as a last step in the required grading. When available in such depth, at least 18 inches of the darkened surface soil shall be segregated and replaced. In no case under this subsection shall less than the top 8 inches of surface soil, darkened or not, be segregated or replaced. This segregation and replacement requirement may be altered by the Department only if it is determined on the advice of competent soil scientists that other material available in the cast overburden would be suitable in meeting the reclamation requirements. Below the darkened surface soil, the replaced material shall be suitable as an agricultural root medium. The Department shall determine by rule what constitutes a suitable agricultural root medium by composition and depth. This Section does not apply to any land which is subject to a reclamation plan approved under "The Surface-Mined Land Conservation and Reclamation Act", approved September 17, 1971, as amended, as in effect on June 30, 1979, or to high capability lands affected by mining operations prior to July 1, 1975.
    (c) The term "prime farmland" has the same meaning it has under the Federal Act. Soil horizons shall be defined by the Department by rule. Such rules shall be consistent with the Federal Act.
    (d) The term "high capability land" means land other than prime farmland which the Director determines is (1) capable of being reclaimed for row-crop agricultural purposes and is suitable for row-crop agricultural purposes based on United States Soil Conservation Service soil survey classifications of the affected land prior to mining, and (2) the optimum future use of which is for row-crop agricultural purposes.
    (e) The term "darkened surface soil" shall be defined by the Department by rule.
    (f) The requirements of this Section are in addition to the other requirements of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.08

    (225 ILCS 720/3.08) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.08)
    Sec. 3.08. Runoff Water. (a) All runoff water from affected areas shall be impounded, drained, or treated so as to reduce soil erosion, damage to unmined lands, and pollution of streams and other waters. The operator shall construct earth dams where lakes may be formed, in accordance with sound engineering practices and standards adopted by the Department by rule, (1) if necessary or desirable to impound water, and (2) if the formation of the lakes or ponds will not interfere with underground or other mining operations or other subsequent uses of the area authorized by the Department, and will not damage adjoining property. Such water impoundments shall be approved by the Department based on the expected ability of the lakes or ponds to support desirable uses such as water for recreation, livestock or wildlife; and if to be used for fish life, shall have minimum depths in accordance with standards for fish stocking in the various areas of the State adopted by the Department by rule.
    (b) Permanent impoundments of water shall only be authorized when the applicant adequately demonstrates and the Department finds that:
    (1) the size of the impoundment is adequate for the intended use;
    (2) the impoundment dam construction will be designed so as to achieve necessary stability with an adequate margin of safety compatible with that of structures constructed under Section 1006 of Title 16 of the United States Code;
    (3) the quality of impounded water will be permanently suitable for intended use and will comply with standards established by applicable water quality laws;
    (4) the level of the water will remain reasonably stable;
    (5) final grading will provide adequate safety and access for future users of the impounded water; and
    (6) the impoundments will not result in the diminution of the quality or quantity of water utilized by adjacent or surrounding landowners for agricultural, industrial, recreational or domestic uses.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.09

    (225 ILCS 720/3.09) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.09)
    Sec. 3.09. Augering. Any augering operation associated with surface mining shall be conducted in a manner to maximize recoverability of mineral reserves remaining after mining operations and reclamation are complete. All auger holes shall be sealed with an impervious and noncombustible material in order to prevent drainage except where the Department determines that the resulting impoundment of water in such auger holes may create a hazard to the environment or the public health or safety, provided that augering may be prohibited if necessary to maximize the utilization, recoverability or conservation of the solid fuel resources or to protect against adverse water quality impacts.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.10

    (225 ILCS 720/3.10) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.10)
    Sec. 3.10. Hydrology. (a) Disturbances to the prevailing hydrologic balance at the mine-site and in associated offsite areas and to the quality and quantity of water in surface and ground water systems shall be minimized both during and after surface mining operations and during reclamation.
    (b) Acid or other toxic mine drainage shall be avoided by such measures as, but not limited to (1) preventing or removing water from contact with toxic-producing deposits; (2) treating drainage to reduce toxic content which adversely affects downstream water upon being released to water courses; and (3) casing, sealing, or otherwise managing boreholes, shafts, and wells and keeping acid or other toxic drainage from entering ground land surface waters.
    (c) Surface mining operations shall be conducted so as to prevent, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available, additional contributions of suspended solids to streamflow, or runoff outside the permit area. In no event shall such contributions be in excess of requirements set by applicable State or Federal law.
    (d) Siltation structures may be constructed pursuant to subsection (c) prior to commencement of surface mining operations. Such structures shall be certified by a qualified registered engineer and be constructed as designed and as approved in the permit or reclamation plan.
    (e) Unless consistent with the reclamation plan, temporary or large settling ponds or other siltation structures shall be cleaned out and removed from drainways after disturbed areas are revegetated and stabilized. Silt and debris shall be deposited at a site and in a manner approved by the Department.
    (f) Recharge capacity of the mined area shall be restored to approximate premining conditions.
    (g) Channel deepening or enlargement shall be avoided in operations requiring the discharge of water from mines.
    (h) The Department may prescribe other actions to achieve the standards set forth in subsection (a) of this Section.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.11

    (225 ILCS 720/3.11) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.11)
    Sec. 3.11. Wastes.
    (a) With respect to surface disposal of mine wastes, tailings, coal processing wastes, and other wastes in areas other than the mine working or excavations, the operator shall stabilize all waste piles in designated areas through construction in compacted layers, including the use of noncombustible and impervious materials if necessary, and shall assure that the final contour of the waste pile will be compatible with natural surroundings and that the site can and will be stabilized and revegetated according to the provisions of this Act.
    (b) The operator shall design, locate, construct, operate, maintain, enlarge, modify, and remove or abandon, in accordance with the standards and criteria developed pursuant to the Federal Act, all existing and new coal mine waste piles consisting of mine wastes, tailings, coal processing wastes, or other liquid and solid wastes, and used either temporarily or permanently as dams or embankments.
    (c) All debris, acid-forming materials, toxic materials, or materials constituting a fire hazard shall be treated or buried and compacted or otherwise disposed of in a manner designed to prevent contamination of ground or surface waters. At a minimum, such materials constituting a fire hazard present in the exposed face of the mined mineral seam or seams in the final cut shall, if approved by the Department, be covered at all times with not less than 4 feet of water or other materials which shall be placed with slopes having no more than 30% grade, capable of supporting plant and animal life. Final cuts or other depressed affected areas, no longer in use in mining operations, which accumulate toxic waters will not meet reclamation requirements. Contingency plans shall be developed to prevent sustained combustion.
    (d) Slurry shall be confined in depressed or mined areas bounded by levees or dams constructed from materials capable of supporting acceptable vegetation and built in accordance with sound engineering practices. Such areas shall be screened with border plantings of tree species which by their seeding habits will encourage propagation of vegetation on these areas, and levees or dams built to confine slurry shall be adapted to established species of grasses. Gob and slurry not capable of supporting vegetation shall be covered to a minimum depth of 4 feet with soil or other material in accordance with sound soil conservation practices as prescribed by the Department. Such material shall be capable of being vegetated and an acceptable cover shall be established. The reclamation measures set forth in this subsection are minimum performance standards and do not supersede any other requirements of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 90-655, eff. 7-30-98.)

225 ILCS 720/3.12

    (225 ILCS 720/3.12) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.12)
    Sec. 3.12. Nearby Mines. Surface mining shall not be permitted within five hundred feet from active and abandoned underground mines except as provided in this Section. The Department may permit an operator to mine near, through or partially through an abandoned underground mine or closer than five hundred feet to an active underground mine if (1) the nature, timing, and sequencing of the approximate coincidence of specific surface mine activities with specific underground mine activities are jointly approved in accordance with law under laws concerned with surface mine regulation and the health and safety of underground miners, and (2) such operations will result in improved resource recovery, abatement of water pollution, or elimination of hazards to the health and safety of the public.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.13

    (225 ILCS 720/3.13) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.13)
    Sec. 3.13. Explosives. (a) Explosives shall be used only in accordance with existing State and Federal law and rules promulgated by the Department. Such rules shall include provisions to-
    (1) provide adequate advance written notice to local governments and residents who might be affected by the use of such explosives by publication of the planned blasting schedule in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality and by mailing a copy of the proposed blasting schedule to every resident living within one-half mile of the proposed blasting site and to every other person within or outside such area to whom the Department requires notice to be mailed, and by providing daily notice to such persons prior to any blasting;
    (2) maintain for a period of at least three years and make available for public inspection on request a log detailing the location of the blasts, the pattern and depth of the drill holes, the amount of explosives used per hole, and the order and length of delay in the blasts;
    (3) limit the type of explosives and detonating equipment, the size, the timing and frequency of blasts based upon the physical conditions of the site so as to prevent (1) injury to persons, (2) damage to public and private property outside the permit area, (3) adverse impacts on any underground mine, and (4) change in the course, channel, or availability of ground or surface water outside the permit area;
    (4) require that all blasting operations be conducted by trained and competent persons as certified by the Department; and
    (5) provide that on the request to the Department and the applicant or permittee by a resident or owner of a man-made dwelling or structure (1) within one-half mile of any portion of the permitted area or (2) not within such area, but within one mile of the blasting area and within an area determined by the Department to be appropriate in a particular situation on the basis of complaints or other information received by the Department, the applicant or permittee shall conduct a pre-blasting survey of such structures and submit the survey to the Department and a copy to the resident or owner making the request. The areas and contents of the survey shall be determined by the Department and shall include provisions required under the Federal Act.
    (b) The Department shall promulgate regulations requiring the training, examination, and certification of persons engaging in or directly responsible for blasting or use of explosives in mining operations.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.14

    (225 ILCS 720/3.14) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.14)
    Sec. 3.14. Roads and Ditches. (a) The construction, maintenance, and postmining conditions of roads into and across the site of mining operations shall control or prevent erosion and siltation, pollution of water, damage to fish or wildlife or their habitat, or public or private property.
    (b) Construction of roads or other access ways shall not be permitted up a stream bed or drainage channel or in such proximity to such channel so as to seriously alter the normal flow of water.
    (c) All abandoned roads and all mine drainage ditches shall be removed and graded, except where the Department determines that a road or ditch is consistent with and necessary to the reclamation plan.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.15

    (225 ILCS 720/3.15) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.15)
    Sec. 3.15. Vegetation.
    (a) A suitable, diverse, effective, and permanent vegetative cover of the same seasonal variety native to the area of affected land shall be established on all regraded areas, and all other land affected. The Department may approve vegetation plans for the purpose of soil building or preparing land for crop production. Vegetative cover must be capable of self-regeneration and plant succession at least equal in extent of cover to the natural vegetation of the area. Vegetative cover will be considered of the same seasonal variety when it consists of a mixture of species of equal or superior utility for the intended land use when compared with the utility of naturally occurring vegetation during each season of the year. Introduced species may be used in the revegetation process where desirable and necessary to achieve the approved post-mining land use plan only if approved by the Department. Introduced species shall not include poisonous or toxic species.
    (b) The operator shall assume the responsibility for successful revegetation, as required by this Act, for a period of five full years after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing, irrigation, or other work in order to assure compliance with this Act. This does not preclude responsible land management practices on portions of the total area as deemed necessary and approved by the Department.
    (c) When the Department determines lands to be high capability lands or approves a long-term intensive agricultural postmining land use, the applicable 5-year period of responsibility for revegetation shall commence at the date of initial planting for such use. The Department may grant exceptions to this requirement to accomplish the purposes of this Act in accordance with rules adopted by the Department.
    (d) The Department may not require that high capability lands be revegetated with row crops.
    (e) On lands eligible for remining, the operator shall assume the responsibility for successful revegetation for a period of 2 full years after the last year of augmented seeding, fertilizing, irrigation, or other work in order to assure compliance with the applicable standards of the Act. This does not preclude responsible land management practices on portions of the total area as deemed necessary and approved by the Department.
(Source: P.A. 88-599, eff. 9-1-94.)

225 ILCS 720/3.16

    (225 ILCS 720/3.16) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.16)
    Sec. 3.16. Offsite Areas. (a) Offsite areas shall be protected from slides or damage occurring during surface mining and reclamation operations.
    (b) Surface mining operations that remove and do not replace the lateral support shall not, unless mutually agreed on by the operator and the adjacent property owner, approach property lines or established right-of-way lines of any public roads, streets, or highways closer than a distance equal to 10 feet plus one and one-half times the depth of the excavation except where consolidated material or materials of sufficient hardness or ability to resist weathering and to inhibit erosion or sloughing exist in the highwall, the distance from the property line or any established right-of way line shall not, unless mutually agreed, be closer than a distance equal to 10 feet plus one and one-half times the depth from the natural ground surface to the top of the consolidated material or materials.
    (c) No operator shall deposit soil material or locate any part of the surface mining and reclamation operations or waste accumulations outside the permit area.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.17

    (225 ILCS 720/3.17) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.17)
    Sec. 3.17. Excess Spoil. All excess spoil material resulting from surface mining and reclamation activities shall be placed in such a manner that:
    (a) spoil is transported and placed in a controlled manner in position for concurrent compaction and in such a way to assure mass stability and to prevent mass movement;
    (b) the areas of disposal are within the bonded permit areas and all organic matter is removed immediately prior to spoil placement;
    (c) appropriate surface and internal drainage systems and diversion ditches are used so as to prevent spoil erosion and movement;
    (d) the disposal area does not contain springs, natural water courses or wet weather seeps unless lateral drains are constructed from the wet areas to the main underdrains in such a manner that filtration of the water into the spoil pile will be prevented;
    (e) if placed on a slope, the spoil is placed on the most moderate slope among those on which, in the judgment of the Department, the spoil could be placed in compliance with all the requirements of this Act, and is placed, where possible, on, or above, a natural terrace, bench, or berm, if such placement provides additional stability and prevents mass movement;
    (f) where the toe of the spoil rests on a downslope, a rock toe buttress, of sufficient size to prevent mass movement, is constructed;
    (g) the final configuration is compatible with the natural drainage pattern and surroundings and suitable for intended uses;
    (h) design of the spoil disposal area is certified by a qualified registered professional engineer in conformance with professional standards; and
    (i) all other provisions of this Act are met.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.18

    (225 ILCS 720/3.18) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.18)
    Sec. 3.18. Fish, Wildlife, and Related Environmental Values. To the extent possible using the best technology currently available, the operator shall minimize disturbances and adverse impacts of the operation on fish, wildlife, and related environmental values, and achieve enhancement of such resources where practicable.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.19

    (225 ILCS 720/3.19) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.19)
    Sec. 3.19. Natural Barriers. An undisturbed natural barrier shall be provided beginning at the elevation of the lowest coal seam to be mined and extending from the outslope for such distance as the Department determines shall be retained in place as a barrier to slides and erosion.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.20

    (225 ILCS 720/3.20) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.20)
    Sec. 3.20. Illinois Environmental Protection Act. All requirements of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, and of rules and regulations thereunder, shall be complied with fully at all times during mining, reclamation, and after reclamation.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.21

    (225 ILCS 720/3.21) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.21)
    Sec. 3.21. Signs. Each permittee shall conspicuously maintain at each entrance to the surface mining and reclamation operations a clearly visible sign which sets forth the name, business address, and phone number of the permittee and the permit number of the surface mining and reclamation operations.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.22

    (225 ILCS 720/3.22) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.22)
    Sec. 3.22. Other Criteria. The operator shall meet such other criteria required by the Department for a particular site as are necessary to achieve reclamation in accordance with the purposes of this Act, taking into consideration the physical, climatological, and other characteristics of the site.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.23

    (225 ILCS 720/3.23) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.23)
    Sec. 3.23. Steep-Slope Mining. (a) This Section applies to steep-slope surface mining. A steep slope is a slope greater than 20 degrees. The standards set forth in this Section are in addition to the other performance standards set forth in this Act. This Section does not apply where an operator is mining on flat or gently rolling terrain, on which occasional steep slope is encountered through which the mining operation is to proceed, leaving a plain or predominantly flat area.
    (b) When surface mining is performed on steep slopes, no debris, abandoned or disabled equipment, spoil material, or waste mineral matter shall be placed on the downslope below the bench or mining cut. Spoil material in excess of that required for the reconstruction of the approximate original contour under the provisions of Section 3.04 shall be permanently stored in accordance with Section 3.17.
    (c) Complete backfilling with spoil material shall be required to cover completely the highwall and return the site to the appropriate original contour, which material will maintain stability following mining and reclamation.
    (d) The operator may not disturb land above the top of the highwall unless the Department finds that such disturbance will facilitate compliance with the applicable performance standards of this Act. The land disturbed above the highwall shall be limited to that amount necessary to facilitate said compliance.
    (e) The Department may allow variances from one or more of the requirements of this Section provided that (1) the watershed control of the area is improved, and (2) complete backfilling with spoil material covers completely the highwall (which material will maintain stability following mining and reclamation), and (3) the owner of the surface knowingly requests in writing as part of the permit application that such a variance be granted.
    (f) Variances under subsection (e) of this Section may be allowed only if the Department finds that:
    (1) after consultation with the appropriate land use planning agencies, if any, the potential use of the affected land constitutes an equal or better economic or public use than would occur without the variance;
    (2) the potential use is designed and certified by a qualified registered professional engineer in conformance with professional standards established to assure the stability, drainage, and configuration necessary for the intended use of the site; and
    (3) after approval of the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency the watershed of the affected land is deemed to be improved.
    (g) If a variance is granted under this Section, only such amount of spoil may be placed off the mine bench as is necessary to (1) achieve the planned postmining land use, (2) insure stability of the spoil retained on the bench, and (3) meet all other requirements of this Act. All spoil placement off the mine bench must comply with Section 3.17.
    (h) The Department shall promulgate rules to govern the granting of variances in accord with the provisions of this Section, and may impose in such rules such additional requirements as it deems necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Act.
    (i) All variances under this Section shall be reviewed not more than 3 years from the date of issuance of the permit, unless the permittee affirmatively demonstrates that the proposed development is proceeding in accordance with the terms of the reclamation plan.
(Source: P.A. 81-1509.)

225 ILCS 720/3.24

    (225 ILCS 720/3.24) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.24)
    Sec. 3.24. Water Rights. (a) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting in any way the right of any person to enforce or protect, under applicable law, his interest in water resources affected by a surface mining operation.
    (b) The operator of a surface mine shall replace the water supply of an owner of an interest in real property who obtains all or part of his supply of water for domestic, agricultural, industrial, or other legitimate use from an underground or surface source where such supply has been affected by contamination, diminution, or interruption proximately resulting from such surface mine operation.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.25

    (225 ILCS 720/3.25) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.25)
    Sec. 3.25. Timing of Reclamation. (a) Reclamation efforts on all land that is disturbed by surface mining operations shall proceed in an environmentally sound manner and as contemporaneously as practicable with the surface mining operations. The Department shall by rule establish time schedules for reclamation, which rules shall be no less stringent than the Regulations.
    (b) When extension of the reclamation period is necessary to allow continued mining operations and to accomplish acceptable reclamation, such extension shall be made until a date certain at the discretion of the Department. The Department shall not deny a reasonable extension when the operator shows that acts of God, strikes, inability to receive ordered equipment or extended periods of unreasonable and unexpected weather have made completion within the time limits impossible.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)

225 ILCS 720/3.26

    (225 ILCS 720/3.26) (from Ch. 96 1/2, par. 7903.26)
    Sec. 3.26. Variances for Joint Surface and Underground Mining. (a) Where the applicant proposes to combine surface mining operations with underground mining operations to assure maximum practical recovery of the mineral resources, the Department may grant a variance for specific areas within the reclamation plan from the requirement that reclamation efforts proceed as contemporaneously as practicable to permit underground mining operations prior to reclamation if the Department finds in writing that:
    (1) the applicant has presented, as part of the permit application, specific, feasible plans for the proposed underground mining operations;
    (2) the proposed underground mining operations are necessary or desirable to assure maximum practical recovery of the mineral resource and will avoid multiple disturbance of the surface;
    (3) the applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the plan for the underground mining operations conforms to requirements for underground mining in the State and that all permits necessary for the underground mining operations have been issued;
    (4) the areas proposed for the variance have been shown by the applicant to be necessary for the implementing of the proposed underground mining operations;
    (5) no substantial adverse environmental damage, either onsite or offsite, will result from the delay in completion of reclamation as required by this Act; and
    (6) provisions for the offsite storage of spoil will comply with Section 3.17.
    (b) Such operations shall comply with any additional requirements promulgated under this Act. Variances granted under this Section shall be reviewed by the Department not more than 3 years after the issuance of the permit. Liability under the bond filed by the applicant with the Department under Section 6.01 shall be for the duration of the underground mining operations and until the requirements of this Section and Section 6.08 have been fully complied with.
(Source: P.A. 81-1015.)