This Act establishes a program for regulating surface coal mining and reclamation activities.

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Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

Draft year: August 3, 1977

Amended in 1978-1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990 and 1992.

Bill is a national piece of legislation

What SMCRA Promises:

• To protect society & the environment.

• To assure the rights of landowners.

• To prohibit surface mining where reclamation is not possible.

• To assure public participation.

Key provisions of SMCRA:

• Sets up the Office of Surface Mining.

• Gives enforcement power to states.

• Establishes Abandoned Mine Lands Fund.

• Requires companies to get mining permits and reclamation bonds.

Blasting Requirements:

• The law says companies must “Limit the type of explosives…size, timing and frequency of blasts…to prevent injury to persons, damage to public and private property…and availability of water.”

• Blasting regulations, however, are totally inadequate to do the job.

This Act establishes a program for the regulation of surface mining activities and the reclamation of coal-mined lands, under the administration of the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, in the Department of the Interior.

The law sets forth minimum uniform requirements for all coal surface mining on Federal and State lands, including exploration activities and the surface effects of underground mining. Mine operators are required to minimize disturbances and adverse impact on fish, wildlife and related environmental values and achieve enhancement of such resources where practicable. Restoration of land and water resources is ranked as a priority in reclamation planning.