Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program is OSMRE’s largest program and one of OSMRE’s primary responsibilities under SMCRA. Since SMCRA’s enactment in 1977, the AML program has collected over $10.1 billion in fees from present-day coal production and distributed more than $7.6 billion in grants to states and tribes, mandatory distributions to the UMWA and OSMRE’s operation of the national program to reclaim land and waters damaged by coal mining before the law’s passage. Read More >
Title V of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) balances the need to protect the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining with the Nation's need for coal as an essential energy source. It ensures that coal mining operations are conducted in an environmentally responsible manner and that the land is adequately reclaimed during and following the mining process. Most coal-mining states now have the primary responsibility to regulate surface coal mining on lands within their jurisdiction, with OSMRE performing an oversight role. OSMRE also partners with states and Indian tribes to regulate mining on Federal lands and to support states' regulatory programs with grants and technical assistance. Read More >
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) was established to balance environmental concerns with the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans. Inherent within NEPA is the intent for Federal agencies to act as responsible stewards of America's vast natural resources. Each Federal agency has its own agency NEPA implementing procedures which adapt the framework established by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations to address agency specific missions and decision-making authority.
OSMRE is the primary regulator of coal mining under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) until a state or Indian tribe demonstrates that it has developed a regulatory program that meets all of the requirements in the SMCRA and implementing regulations issued by OSMRE (30 CFR Chapter VII). The fundamental purpose of oversight is to ensure that states and tribes are effectively implementing, administering, maintaining, and enforcing approved state and tribal programs.
Applying Science and Technology
One of the ways that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) balances coal production with environmental protection is by providing resources for technical assistance, training, and technology development. These activities support and enhance the technical skills that states and tribes need to operate their regulatory and reclamation programs in order to effectively implement the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). Learn More about Technology Development and Transfer (TDT) >
The Appalachian Region Technology Transfer (ARTT) team is part of the national technology transfer effort of OSMRE. ARTT provides interactive forums and workshops, publishes and presents technical papers at state/regional/national conventions, workshops, symposia, and outreach efforts to accomplish the goals.
Technical experts within the Appalachian Region have developed numerous publications on various technical aspects of mining and reclamation processes including surface mine design, evaluation, environmental protection, impoundments, reclamation design, and water quality and protection.
Flight 93, Passive Treatment System - a project that provides a way to help clean up acid mine drainage water from an underground coal mine near the crash site. The treatment systems put in place on the site to combat Iron and Manganese issues in the water include the passive technology capable of reducing total suspended metals to less than 2.0 mg/L (Enhanced Solids Fe Removal) and the passive technology capable of removing manganese to less than 1.0 mg/L at pH 7 (Passive Removal of Manganese at Circumneutral pH).
Trompe, Passive Treatment System - a project that uses a modern version of the ancient technology to clean up pollution from 20th-century mining. This project is believed to be the first use of a trompe to eliminate mine water pollution.