§22-11-7a. Certification agreements; required provisions.

(a) Any applicant for the water quality certification that seeks certification of activities covered by the United States Army Corps of Engineers permits issued in accordance with 33 U.S.C. §1344 and 33 C.F.R. Parts 323 or 330 may be issued a certification in accordance with the legislative rules entitled Rules for Individual State Certification of Activities Requiring a Federal Permit, 47 C.S.R. 5A.

(1) The proposed activity shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

(2) The secretary shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code, for the purpose of implementing the provisions of this section which rules shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(A) Establishing all necessary operational and performance requirements for a person undertaking activities covered by this section;

(B) Modifying the provisions of this section, when necessary and appropriate to bring the provisions of this section into compliance with state or federal law or regulation; and

(C) Establishing the specific operational requirements for the activity consistent with this section appropriate to protect the waters of this state during and following the activity.

(b) The Joint Committee on Government and Finance may undertake or facilitate a study of the impact of mountaintop mining and valley fills upon the State of West Virginia.

(1) To facilitate the study, the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is further authorized to coordinate with and seek funding from appropriate federal agencies to facilitate the study including, but not limited to: The federal Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and Fish and Wildlife Service.

(2) In order to facilitate the research, the Joint Committee on Government and Finance shall appoint a council to coordinate and direct the research. The composition of the council shall be determined by the joint committee, but shall include representatives from the various interested parties as determined solely by the joint committee.