(a) If an operator refuses or is unable to conduct reclamation of an unabated violation, if the terms of the permit are not met, or if the operator defaults on the conditions under which the bond was accepted, the regulatory authority shall take the following action to forfeit all or part of a bond or bonds for any permit area or an increment of a permit area:
(1) Send written notification by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the permittee and the surety on the bond, if any, informing them of the determination to forfeit all or part of the bond, including the reasons for the forfeiture and the amount to be forfeited. The amount shall be based on the estimated total cost of achieving the reclamation plan requirements.
(2) Advise the permittee and surety, if applicable, of the conditions under which forfeiture may be avoided. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to -
(i) Agreement by the permittee or another party to perform reclamation operations in accordance with a compliance schedule which meets the conditions of the permit, the reclamation plan, and the regulatory program and a demonstration that such party has the ability to satisfy the conditions; or
(ii) The regulatory authority may allow a surety to complete the reclamation plan, or the portion of the reclamation plan applicable to the bonded phase or increment, if the surety can demonstrate an ability to complete the reclamation in accordance with the approved reclamation plan. Except where the regulatory authority may approve partial release authorized under § 800.40, no surety liability shall be released until successful completion of all reclamation under the terms of the permit, including applicable liability periods of § 800.13.
(b) In the event forfeiture of the bond is required by this section, the regulatory authority shall -
(1) Proceed to collect the forfeited amount as provided by applicable laws for the collection of defaulted bonds or other debts if actions to avoid forfeiture have not been taken, or if rights of appeal, if any, have not been exercised within a time established by the regulatory authority, or if such appeal, if taken, is unsuccessful.
(2) Use funds collected from bond forfeiture to complete the reclamation plan, or portion thereof, on the permit area or increment, to which bond coverage applies.
(c) Upon default, the regulatory authority may cause the forfeiture of any and all bonds deposited to complete reclamation for which the bonds were posted. Unless specifically limited, as provided in § 800.11(b), bond liability shall extend to the entire permit area under conditions of forfeiture.
(1) In the event the estimated amount forfeited is insufficient to pay for the full cost of reclamation, the operator shall be liable for remaining costs. The regulatory authority may complete, or authorize completion of, reclamation of the bonded area and may recover from the operator all costs of reclamation in excess of the amount forfeited.
(2) In the event the amount of performance bond forfeited was more than the amount necessary to complete reclamation, the unused funds shall be returned by the regulatory authority to the party from whom they were collected.