OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT
Library of COALEX Research Reports
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, contact Joyce Zweben Scall by phone at 202-686-9138 or by email at JZScall@aol.com.
COALEX STATE INQUIRY REPORT - 347
Bo Reiley, Esquire
Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Chief Counsel, 9th Floor
Rachel Carson State Office Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105
TOPIC:STATE SMCRA PROGRAM AMENDMENTS RELATING TO EPA REGULATIONS
INQUIRY: Must states send program amendments relating to the regulation of effluent limitations and other such areas under EPA's purview to OSM or can they be sent directly to EPA for approval? Can Pennsylvania delete these regulations from their SMCRA programs?
SEARCH RESULTS: Research was conducted using the COALEX Library and other materials available in LEXIS. The results of the research are summarized below. Excerpts from the items referenced are attached.
[NOTE: Changes have been made to the SMCRA effluent regulations since 1982. Neither the information on those changes nor the language of the regulations currently in force are included with this Report.]
According to the legislative history of SMCRA and the preambles to the proposed rules and the final program rules, SMCRA regulations and EPA regulations are seen as complementary, not duplicative. State SMCRA programs, their revisions and amendments are required to be reviewed and approved by OSM with the concurrence of EPA. The alternative of merely adopting the EPA effluent guidelines under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was considered but was rejected. Reasons for rejecting this alternative, as stated in the preamble to the Permanent Program Final Rules (44 FR 14902; March 13, 1979) include the following:
(1) The NPDES regulations "apply only during the active phase of mining operations and do not extend to the reclamation phase of mining. Further, neither the NPDES permit system nor EPA's regulations cover nonpoint' source discharges to surface water, any discharges to ground water, or discharges to surface waters that do not meet the agency's definition of waters of the United States.'"
(2) "The NPDES system also assumes the existence of a point source discharge before applicable effluent limitations attach to the discharge. This system would leave entirely unregulated any non-point discharges, of which surface and underground mining activities have many, largely resulting from the storm water runoff over surface areas and ground waters exiting underground mine workings. Under Sections 102, 506, 510, 515, 516, and 517 of the Act, however, all water discharged as a result of coal mining and reclamation operations which could materially damage the hydrologic system are to be regulated through a permit system and regulations, which will require collection of non-point runoff and treatment to limit discharges of pollutants to ground or surface waters."
Research conducted by: Joyce Zweben Scall