Surface Owner Rights
Residents living above longwall coal mines are entitled to certain rights and protections under the law.
Surface property owners' rights include:
- The right to be notified by the coal company when mining is proposed under your property and to comment on the proposed mining during DEP's review of the permit.
- If DEP approves the permit, you have the right to be notified by the coal company at least six months before mining occurs under your property. You will be given information on who to contact at the coal company for information and resolving problems. You will also be notified by DEP with contact information for your Surface Subsidence Agent. Or you can call DEP at 800-922-1678 at any time for information.
- You have the right to a pre-mining survey to record the existing condition of your home and water supply to help identify damage or loss of water. The pre-mining survey can also help in the design of measures that will help prevent damage to your property like bracing, trenching around the building, installing flexible connections to utilities and providing replacement water ahead of any need.
- You will be contacted by a DEP Surface Subsidence Agent before longwall mining occurs to answer your questions about damage or water loss and to make sure you are aware of all your rights prior to mining.
- Notify the coal company and DEP immediately of any damage or water loss on your property. The coal company must also report any mining-related problems to DEP. A DEP Surface Subsidence Agent will contact you to determine the kind of problem you're having and whether the coal company is taking steps to solve it. A file will be opened to track the status of the problem, and DEP will be in contact with you and the coal company to make sure your rights are protected.
- If you cannot occupy your home because of mine subsidence damage, you have the right to have your temporary relocation expenses paid by the coal company.
- If your water is lost as a result of underground mining, you have the right to a temporary replacement supply within 24 hours and a prompt permanent replacement - paid for by the coal company.
- If your home is damaged, you have the right to a post-mining survey to determine the scope of the damage and to have that damage repaired to pre-mining condition - paid for by the coal company - or to accept compensation.
- If you feel you are not being treated fairly by the coal company at any point in this process, you have the right to file a formal claim with DEP up to two years after the date the damage occurred to help resolve damage claims and water loss problems. If you do not file a damage claim with DEP within two years, you may forfeit your rights to repair or compensation.
- You have the right to be fully compensated for structural damage or water supply impacts if you choose.