OSMRE's Major Programs
Reclaiming Abandoned Mine Lands – Restoring the Environment
Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
Two centuries of US coal mining occurred before the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977. As a result, millions of Americans live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine. OSMRE, through its Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation Program, addresses the hazards and environmental degradation posed by these legacy mine sites.
Since SMCRA’s enactment the AML program has collected over $10 billion through a reclamation fee assessed on each ton of coal that is produced. OSMRE has distributed more than $5 billion in AML grants to states and tribes from the collected fees. More than $1.4 billion was transferred to UMWA Health and Retirement Funds. Over $1.6 billion has been used for OSMRE operating expenses. Over $2 billion of the fund remains unappropriated. Read More >
Regulating Coal Mines – Protecting the Environment
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.
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Technology Development and Transfer Program
Applying Science and Technology
One of the ways that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 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.
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