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Laws & Regulations

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The following laws guide the work of OSMRE and its programs:

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

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) established the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) by "provide[ing] 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." 

Read the unofficial compilation of all revisions to SMCRA through November 15, 2021 here: Compilation of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, as amended (pdf). The file is word searchable.

Learn more about SMCRA in an unabridged Chronology of Major SMCRA-Related Milestones.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains the rules that agencies use to accomplish their missions. The Office of the Federal Register publishes annual updates of the CFR and maintains an up-to-date electronic version of OSMRE's rules at this link:

The CFR contains only the text of the rules themselves. To better understand the background of a particular rule, you may wish to review the preamble to that rule as published in the Federal Register, using one of the links below. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally submitted a Final Programmatic Biological Opinion to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement on October 16, 2020. The Biological Opinion and five associated appendices were formally accepted on November 9, 2020:

Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation Final Programmatic Biological Opinion and Conference Opinion on the United States Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Title V Regulatory Program and Associated Appendices

These documents rescind any previous Biological Opinions related to the OSMRE regulatory program including the 1996 Biological Opinion.