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Laws, Regulations, and Guidance

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA)

P.L. 95-87, Enacted August 3, 1977

  • "An Act to provide for the cooperation between the Secretary of the Interior and the States with respect to the regulation of surface coal mining operations, and the acquisition and reclamation of abandoned mines, and for other purposes." So begins the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, the law that established the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE).
  • Compilation of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, as amended (pdf). This link contains an unofficial compilation of all revisions to SMCRA through July 6, 2012. The file is word searchable.
  • Users of this compilation should be aware that there are slight variations between the enacted version and the version codified in the U.S. Code; when citing SMCRA, the U.S. Code is the only official source. Click here to link to SMCRA in the U.S. Code (Title 30, Chapter 25). Click here to view the document as a pdf.
  • 2006 Amendment: OSMRE's fee collection authority terminated on September 30, 2004 and was extended through FY 2021 on December 20, 2006 in P.L. 109-432.
  • Latest Amendment: Public Law 112-141, as enacted on July 6, 2012, includes the following change to section 411(h)of SMCRA: "(5) Limitation on annual payments. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, the total annual payment to a certified State or Indian tribe under this subsection shall be not more than $15,000,000."
  • Link to a Chronology of Major SMCRA-Related Milestones

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains the rules that agencies use to accomplish their missions. These rules are published in the Federal Register in both proposed and final versions before they are incorporated in the CFR. However, the text published in the Federal Register frequently contains language that addresses comments received during the rulemaking process, explaining the agency’s reasoning and decisions relating to that specific rule. The CFR will only contain the text of the rules themselves but not any of the explanatory material. Thus when researching a particular rule the Federal Register notice in which it was published is usually consulted in order to better understand the background of the rule.

Federal Register Documents

  • OSMRE Federal Register Documents (Compiled on OSMRE Technology Transfer website)
  • Federal Register Searching (FDsys website)
  • For Researchers: Federal Register Final Rules List with Proposed Rules Citations - This Index covers Federal Register documents published beginning with the first surface mining documents published in August 1977 through June 30, 2010. The list contains Federal Register cites of Final Rules and incorporates corresponding Proposed Rule cites published in the Federal Register, as well as significant Notices of Inquiry, Petitions to Initiate Rulemaking, Suspension or Reinstatement of Rules resulting from court decisions, etc.

    NOTE: We are still adding these documents to our website. If you are interested in a document that is not yet listed, contact Deborah McGinnis, OSMRE Librarian at or by telephone 303-293–5073.

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 4/29/14

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