(1) No transfer or assignment of any permit may be made without the prior written approval of the department.
(2) The department may not approve any transfer or assignment of any permit unless the potential transferee or assignee:
(a) obtains the performance bond coverage of the original permittee by:
(i) obtaining transfer of the original bond;
(ii) obtaining a written agreement with the original permittee and all subsequent successors in interest (if any) that the bond posted by the original permittee and all successors shall continue in force on all areas affected by the original permittee and all successors, and supplementing such previous bonding with such additional bond as may be required by the department. If such an agreement is reached, the department may authorize for each previous successor and the original permittee the release of any remaining amount of bond in excess of that required by the agreement; or
(iii) providing sufficient bond to cover the original permit in its entirety from inception to completion of reclamation operations; and
(b) provides the department with an application for approval of such proposed transfer, assignment, or sale, including:
(i) the name and address of the existing permittee;
(ii) the name and address of the person proposing to succeed by such transfer, assignment, or sale and the name and address of that person's resident agent and a brief description of the proposed transaction; and
(iii) the same information as is required in ARM 17.24.303 for applications for new permits.
(3)(a) The applicant for transfer, assignment or sale of rights granted by a permit shall advertise the filing of the application in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the operations involved, indicating the name and address of the applicant, the original permittee, the number and particular geographic location of the permit, the address of the department, and a statement that written comments may be sent to the department within 15 days of publication of the notice.
(b) Any person may submit written comments on the application for approval to the department within 15 days of the publication of the newspaper notice described above.
(4) The department may, upon the basis of the applicant's compliance with the requirements of (1) through (3), grant written approval for the transfer, sale, or assignment of rights under a permit, if it first finds, in writing, that:
(a) the person seeking approval is qualified under the Act and ARM 17.24.405 to receive a permit and will conduct the operations covered by the permit in accordance with the Act and the rules adopted pursuant thereto;
(b) the applicant has submitted a performance bond at least equivalent to the bond or other guarantee of the original permittee; and
(c) the applicant will continue to conduct the operations involved in full compliance with the terms and conditions of the original permit.
(5)(a) The department shall notify the permittee, successors, commentors, and the federal coal regulatory authority of its findings and publish a summary of the decision in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the permit area.
(b) The successor shall immediately provide notice to the department of the consummation of the transfer, assignment, or sale of permit rights. Upon receipt of this notice, the department shall release the original permittee from all obligations not retained under (2).
(6) Any successor in interest seeking to change the boundaries of its operations or any of the terms or conditions of the original permit must:
(a) make application for a permit amendment if the change involves conducting operations outside the original permit area; or
(b) make application for permit revision if the change does not involve conducting operations outside the original permit area.