Coal—Legal Instruments

The NPS Geologic Resources Division developed this article as part of a series to summarize laws, regulations, and policies that specifically apply to NPS minerals and geologic resources. The table below does not include laws of general application (e.g., Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Wilderness Act, National Environmental Policy Act, or National Historic Preservation Act). Also, the table does include the NPS Organic Act when it serves as the main authority for protection of a particular resource or when other, more specific laws are not available. Information is current as of December 2023. Contact the NPS Geologic Resources Division for detailed guidance.


Resource-specific Laws

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, 30 USC § 1201 et. seq.

prohibits surface coal mining operations on any lands within the boundaries of a NPS unit, subject to valid existing rights.

Resource-specific Regulations

SMCRA Regulations at 30 CFR Chapter VII

govern surface mining operations on Federal lands and Indian lands by requiring permits, bonding, insurance, reclamation, and employee protection. Part 7 of the regulations states that National Park System lands are unsuitable for surface mining.

2006 Management Policies

None applicable.

Related Links

Part of a series of articles titled Geology & Minerals—Resource Laws, Regulations, and Policies.

Last updated: January 2, 2024