Longwall Coal Mining Under S.M.C.R.A. 1977 The Ohio Experience

Rothwell, Robert J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Underground mining of coal by longwall mining methods has not been a predominant technique in Ohio. To date, only five mines in the state utilize this method, however, the technique has sparked a certain amount of controversy. As a mining technique, longwalling was introduced into southeastern Ohio in the early 1970's but it did not attract public attention until the mines began moving into privately held surface lands. This occurred coincidentally at about the same time that the state of Ohio began to regulate the environmental impacts of underground mining. Prior to the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in 1977, (SMCRA), Ohio's reclamation law, Chapter 1513 Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C. 1513) did not regulate underground coal mines. As a result of SMCRA, the Ohio Statute was amended in 1978, to include regulation of the surface effects of subsidence. The inevitable result was that existing mines were immediately subject to regulations that were not considered during the initial mine planning process. (For an excellent survey of Ohio Laws that deal with coal mine subsidence, see Zima, 1985. ) The problem faced at that time by both the coal industry and the Ohio Division of Reclamation (the agency within ODNR charged with implementing O.R.C. Ch. 1513.1, was that of attempting to superimpose permitting requirements, and design performance standards onto mines that' had been operational for a number of years.
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