OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT
COALEX Research Reports are the products of research and analysis conducted on specific issues relating to the regulation of Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. The research is conducted in response to requests for information from State Regulatory Authorities, under a cooperative agreement between the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC).
COALEX refers to the Library of Surface Mining Materials maintained by OSM in LEXIS-NEXIS and is a major source for the research.
Each Report includes a list of resources which were sent as attachments to the individual who requested the research. To obtain a copy of the attachments or to obtain any additional information, click here.
Mining and Minerals Division
Energy and Minerals Department
525 Camino De Los Marquez
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
INQUIRY: Are there any OHA or court cases, decided after 1983, on this regulation?
SEARCH RESULTS: Several searches were conducted in the OHA decisions in COALEX as well as state and federal decisions and Federal Register notices in LEXIS.
A list of the relevant materials identified as a result of the research and the topics they address follows. Copies of the OHA decisions, cases and Federal Register notices are attached. (Please note: Due to the length of the NWF v. Hodel case, only the relevant portion of the case is enclosed.)
AMCORD, INC. v OSMRE, IBLA 88-583 (August 17, 1988). AMCORD, INC. v OSMRE, TU 7-16-R (June 30, 1988 [Amends May 27, 1987 Decision]). AMCORD, INC. v OSMRE, TU 7-16-R (May 17, 1987).
The NOV was not validly issued with respect to three areas in question "...because vegetation was established in those areas prior to the formation of the cited erosional features." The NOV was validly issued for the fourth area because the Applicant failed to prove "...that vegetation was established...prior to the formation of the cited gully or that the gully was exempt as an approved waterway."
NOTE: The interim program regulation is the applicable regulation. Under the interim regulation, "...the formation of rills and gullies in areas where vegetation has already been established does not necessarily constitute a violation of the regulations. In this respect, the regulation differs markedly from the permanent program performance standard."
THE PITTSBURG & MIDWAY COAL MINING CO. v OSM, TU 6-35-R (February 26, 1987 [Amends May 22, 1986 Decision]) [NOTE: Appeal Pending]. THE PITTSBURG & MIDWAY COAL MINING CO. v OSM, TU 6-35-R (May 22, 1986).
EXCELLO COAL CORP./BERNOS COAL CO. v OSM, NX 5-55-R (October 28, 1985).
Failure to stabilize and protect surface areas, to control erosion and to facilitate establishment of a vegetative cover. The NOV cited 30 CFR Sections 816.95 and 816.111. The NOV should have cited the interim program standards, not the permanent program standards, since the mining activities "...had ceased long before the permanent program standards were in effect." The applicable regulations are 30 CFR 715.14(i) [25 CFR 216.105(i)] and 521(a)(3) of the ACT - 30 CFR 715.20(f) [25 CFR 216.110(f)].
The ALJ found that the rills and gullies formed after the vegetation was established. This met the requirements of the interim regulation; therefore this part of the NOV was vacated. The ALJ noted that "...if the permanent regulations had applied, the result in this case may [have been] different. The permanent regulations at 30 CFR 816.95 often require the Applicant to stabilize rills and gullies that form after the vegetation has been established."
BIG FORK MINING CO. v OSMRE, NX 7-133-R, NX 88-4-R, NX 88-23-P (June 30, 1988).
Failure to establish a vegetative cover capable of stabilizing the soil surface of the area. In this Consent Decision, the Applicant admitted the validity of the NOV. The remedial work was performed satisfactorily and the NOV and Cessation Order (CO) were terminated.
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION v Hodel, 839 F.2d 694 (1988).
Jurisdiction over nonerosional aspects of air quality. The court affirmed the Secretary's interpretation of SMCRA Section 515(b)(4) and the promulgated regulation "...requiring operators to control only the impacts of mining on air quality due to erosion." The NWF had argued for a stricter reading of 515(b)(4) and regulation of "...all air pollution attendant to surface mining operations."
PRAGER v HODEL, 793 F.2d 730 (1986).
Designation of lands as unsuitable for mining because reclamation is "not technologically and economically feasible." This case mentions the requirement that surface coal mine operators must comply with regulations to "...stabilize and protect all surface areas to prevent slides, erosion and water pollution...."
52 FR 28162 (JULY 28, 1987). Proposed Modifications to the New Mexico Permanent Regulatory Program.
Regrading or Stabilizing Rills and Gullies: New Mexico proposes to delete the current language found at section 20-106(a) and to replace it with language identical to the Federal language found at 30 CFR 816.95.
52 FR 34394 (SEPTEMBER 11, 1987). Petition to Initiate Rulemaking; Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations; Federal Program for Indian Lands; Performance Standards.
The Director denied Peabody Coal Company's petition requesting that "...OSMRE amend the applicable performance standards regarding stabilization of surface areas for existing operations not yet permitted under OSMRE's Federal program for Indian lands" [30 CFR 750.16 and 816.95].
Research conducted by: Joyce Zweben Scall