By 1975, all western states except Arizona had adopted some form of mining and reclamation standards and regulations.With a strong commitment from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Division was created in early 1976 to regulate non-coal mining operations. The Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act was passed, and a Mined Land Reclamation Board was appointed to serve in an administrative and adjudicatory capacity.
The Federal government passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, specific to coal mining, in 1977, and as an equivalent to the federal law, the Colorado Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act was passed in 1979, approved at the federal level in 1980, and placed under the administration and adjudication of the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board.
Colorado has continued to operate under these two programs, amending them as necessary. Since 1980, the greatest changes have been in incorporating environmental protection provisions, protecting adjacent properties and water resources, improving bonding procedures, and addressing higher risk operations by creating specific regulations for operations posing a higher degree of risk to persons, property, or the environment.
The Division of Mined Land Reclamation merged with several other divisions within the Department of Natural Resources to create the Division of Minerals and Geology (DMG) in 1992. Within DMG, the Office of Mined Land Reclamation (OMLR) administers rules and regulations through the Coal Program and the Minerals Program. In 1993, DMG amended the Minerals Act to give the Division and Board greater authority in bonding requirements and environmental engineering design and protection, and earlier grandfather protections were modified to retrofit old permits with the necessary new environmental requirements.