OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
OSM Director Pizarchik and OSM employees commemorate the 33rd Anniversary of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
On August 3, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) into law. Today, OSM takes pride in its many accomplishments over the last 33 years.
We have done much to protect citizens and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining activities. OSM has taken the lead in finding innovative ways to regulate coal production, reclaim abandoned and inactive coal mines, explore new technologies, and provide technical assistance to its state and tribal regulatory partners. As OSM positions itself to fulfill SMCRA’s promise of a cleaner environment and safer communities, its goal is to do so collaboratively, with its state and tribal partners, as well as its sister federal agencies. While we reflect on what we have accomplished under SMCRA, we realize there is still work to be done - and that work has begun.
OSM Director Pizarchik discusses the 33rd Anniversary of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
As we observe the 33rd anniversary of SMCRA, there are new major priorities that we are working diligently to accomplish.
(1) Improving Oversight – under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we have partnered to significantly reduce the harmful environmental consequences of Appalachian surface coal mining operations. Efforts have been made to take immediate actions to strengthen oversight of state surface coal mining programs and to promulgate Federal regulations to better protect streams affected by surface coal mining operations.
(2) Creating a Stream Protection Rule - OSM has published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the protection of streams from the adverse impacts of surface coal mining operations. Under the terms of a settlement agreement signed on March 19, 2010, OSM agreed to publish a proposed rule by February 28, 2011, and a final rule by the end of June 2012.
(3) A Stream Protection Rule Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being developed for use in writing the new rule to better protect streams from the adverse effects of coal mining. We recently held Open Houses in mine locations to accept public comment on the scope of this EIS.
(4) Ensuring Better Permit Coordination – we are working with our sister agencies with responsibilities for permitting various aspects of surface coal mining activities to better coordinate our efforts.
As we commemorate the 33rd anniversary of SMCRA, we also recognize the dedicated employees of OSM who work hard to contribute to the mission of SMCRA. Employee Appreciation events will be held in OSM regions nationwide to thank employees for their many contributions to these new priorities, as well as to the many other projects they work hard to accomplish.
We celebrate SMCRA’s 33rd anniversary!