Current Status of Federal Regulations and Rulemaking in Governing Subsidence Due to Underground Mining

Winters, Dermot
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA, or the Act) was enacted on August 3, 1977. The Act was written, in part, to put an end to uneven environmental standards and to establish minimum national standards. Certainly, one of the motivating factors for passage of the Act was the success of the Federal Coal Mining Health and Safety Act of 1969 in reducing deaths and injuries in the coal industry nationwide. Section 516 (b) (1) of the Act requires *that subsidence be prevented from causing material damage to the extent technologically and economically feasible except in those instances where the mining technology requires planned subsidence in a predictable and controlled manner. Section 516 (c) of the Act authorizes the regulatory authority to suspend underground mining if there is imminent danger to inhabitants of urbanized areas, cities, towns, and communities. On December 13, 1977, the interim program, which applies a portion of the performance standards of the Act, was promulgated. Then on September 18, 1978, the proposed permanent program was published for public comment. Finally, on March 13, 1979, the final permanent program was promulgated and the States were given a period of time to submit their programs for approval.
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