SMCRA 1977

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

The SMCRA was passed in 1977 by the US Congress in order to regulate active coal mines and reclaim abandoned mine lands. This Act was created in response to the bad environmental effects of strip mining. Under the SCMRA, new regulations were set to minimize the environmental disturbances caused by coal mines and required a company to obtain a permit before conducting surface mining. Mining was also prohibited from certain lands such as national parks and subjected mining operations to government inspection and punishment if SCMRA is violated. The Abandoned Mine Land Fund (AML) was created for states to finance the restoration of previous mine land by taxing the coal being mined from the ground. As a result, the Office of Surface Mining was created to enforce the regulations of the SMCRA. Coal companies also began to utilize new surface mining techniques in the West instead of using underground mining in Appalachia. These techniques began to increase in efficiency which decreased the price of coal.
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