(1) The amount of the performance bond must be reviewed for possible adjustment as the disturbed acreage is revised, methods of mining operation change, standards of reclamation change or when contingency procedures or monitoring change.
(2) The department shall conduct an overview of the amount of each bond annually and shall conduct a comprehensive bond review at least every five years. The department may conduct additional comprehensive bond reviews if, after modification of the reclamation or operation plan, and annual overview, or an inspection of the permit area, the department determines that an increase of the bond level may be necessary.
(3) If, at the time of an amendment under ARM 17.24.119, a comprehensive bond review is completed, the next comprehensive bond review must occur not more than five years after the issuance of the amendment.
(4) The department shall notify the operator of any proposed bond adjustment and provide the operator an opportunity for an informal conference on the adjustment.
(5) For bond reduction requests by the operator for release of undisturbed land, the operator shall submit a map of the area in question, revise the appropriate active operation maps and document that the area has not been disturbed as a result of previous operating activities. The department shall then conduct an inspection of the proposed area before responding to the request.
(6) An operator or an interested party may request an adjustment of the required performance bond amount upon submission of evidence to the department demonstrating that the method of operation or other circumstances will change the estimated cost to the department to complete the reclamation, contingency procedures, or monitoring activities and therefore warrant a change in the bond amount.
(7) A bond filed for an operating permit obtained under 82-4-335 , MCA, may not be released or decreased until the public has been provided an opportunity for a hearing and a hearing has been held if requested. The department shall provide reasonable statewide and local notice of the opportunity for hearing including, but not limited to, circulation. The department shall provide a 30-day comment period in the notice. A request for hearing must be submitted to the department in writing within the comment period.