OSMRE and SMCRA Programs
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977 is the primary federal law that regulates the environmental effects of coal mining in the United States. SMCRA created two programs: one for reclaiming abandoned mine lands and a second for regulating active coal mines.
To learn about these programs, read the full text of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977 (PDF download).
Reclaiming Abandoned Mine Lands – Restoring the Environment
Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
The history of coal mining in the United States dates back many centuries. As a result, millions of Americans live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine. The Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation Program, addresses the hazards and environmental degradation posed by these legacy mine sites.
Regulating Coal Mines – Protecting the Environment
Title V of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
SMCRA requirements ensure that coal mining operations are conducted in an environmentally responsible manner and that the land is adequately reclaimed during and following the mining process. OSMRE is either responsible for regulating active coal operations or providing oversight of the State and Tribal regulatory programs that have obtained primacy.
Technology Development and Transfer Program
Applying Science and Technology
OSMRE provides resources for technical assistance, training, and technology development related to coal production and environmental protection. These activities support and enhance the technical skills that States and Tribes need to effectively operate their regulatory and reclamation programs.