Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

dragline crane in coal mine pit
A coal mine outside of Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) prohibits surface coal mining within the boundaries of any unit of the National Park System. SMCRA also provides the NPS with authority over permitting decisions regarding external surface coal mining.Numerous surface coal mining operations exist or are proposed near NPS units nationwide.Protection of downstream water resources as well as air, wildlife, habitat, and visual resource impacts are often factors that must be addressed in the development of this resource. If a surface coal mine operation is proposed near a park boundary and the NPS has reason to believe that the operation will adversely affect park resources, then the NPS becomes a joint permitting agency with the appropriate lead agency (Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) or state agency).

Last updated: May 26, 2016


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