(1) An applicant for an operating permit, a test pit prospecting permit, a renewal of an operating permit or test pit prospecting permit, a major revision to an operating permit or test pit prospecting permit, or an amendment (other than an incidental boundary revision) to add acreage to an operating permit or a test pit prospecting permit shall file the application with the department's main office in Helena and, if directed by the department, with the federal coal regulatory authority.
(2) The department shall determine whether an application is administratively complete within 90 days of receipt and shall immediately notify the applicant in writing of its determination. If the department determines an application is not administratively complete, the notice must list the specific items not adequately addressed in the application. Any items not listed in the notice are presumed to be addressed. If the department determines that the application is administratively complete, the notice must also advise the applicant whether an environmental impact statement must be prepared.
(3) Upon receipt of notice of the department's determination of administrative completeness, the applicant shall place an advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the proposed activity at least once a week for four consecutive weeks. The advertisement must contain, at a minimum, the following information:
(a) the name and business address of the applicant;
(b) a map or description, which must:
(i) clearly show or describe towns, rivers, streams, or other bodies of water, local landmarks, and any other information, including routes, streets, or roads and accurate distance measurements, necessary to allow local residents to readily identify the proposed permit area;
(ii) for all applications except major revision applications, clearly show or describe the exact location and boundaries of the proposed permit area and state the acreage of that area; and
(iii) if a map is used, indicate the north point;
(c) the location where a copy of the application is available for public inspection under (6);
(d) the name and address of the department and the fact that written comments, objections, or requests for informal conferences on the application may be submitted by any person with an interest that is or may be adversely affected to the department within 30 days following the last advertisement of the application;
(e) if an applicant seeks a permit to conduct mining operations within 100 feet of the outside right-of-way of a public road or to relocate or close a public road, a concise statement describing the public road, the particular operations within the 100 feet or the particular part to be relocated or closed, where any relocation or closure is to occur, and the duration of the operations or relocation;
(f) if an alternative postmining land use plan is submitted, a brief description of the plan; and
(g) if an extension of time to commence mining is sought, the length of extension applied for. (See ARM 17.24.412.)
(4) For filing and public notice procedures for bond release applications, see ARM 17.24.1112.
(5) Immediately upon issuance of a determination of administrative completeness, the department shall:
(a) issue written notification of:
(i) the applicant's proposed activity and a description of the boundaries and location of the proposed activity;
(ii) the application number;
(iii) where a copy of the application may be inspected;
(iv) the applicant's alternative postmining land use plans, if any; and
(v) the fact that comments or objections to the application and requests for informal conference may be submitted and the address to which they may be submitted.
(b) The written notifications must be sent to:
(i) federal, state and local government agencies with jurisdiction over or an interest in the area of the proposed operations including, but not limited to, general governmental entities, fish and wildlife and historic preservation agencies, the U.S. natural resources conservation service state office, the U.S. army corps of engineers, district engineer, and the national park service;
(ii) governmental planning agencies with jurisdiction to act with regard to land use, air, or water quality planning in the area of the proposed operations;
(iii) sewage and water treatment authorities and water companies, either providing sewage or water services to users in the area of the proposed operations or having water sources or collection, treatment, or distribution facilities located in these areas; and
(iv) the federal or state governmental agencies with authority to issue all other permits and licenses needed by the applicant in connection with operations proposed in the application.
(6) Upon receipt of the department's determination of administrative completeness, the applicant shall make a full copy of the complete application available for the public to inspect and copy by filing a copy of the application with the recorder at the courthouse of the county where the mining is proposed to occur, or, if approved by the department, at another equivalent public office. The department may approve filing at an equivalent public office if it determines that that office will be more accessible to local residents than the county courthouse. The applicant shall file any subsequent revision of the application with the clerk and recorder or other approved public office at the same time the revision is submitted to the department.