The Colorado Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act (Coal Act) was passed by the Colorado General Assembly in response to the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977 (PL 95-87). SMCRA requires all coal mines in the United States to meet minimum performance standards for environmental and public protection and reclamation. A state may gain primacy and administer its own program under this Act provided that the state coal mining and reclamation law and regulatory program meet national minimum requirements. Colorado decided to administer its own coal regulatory program and enacted the Colorado Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act in 1979 (Section 34-33-101, CRS). Pursuant to the Coal Act, the Mined Land Reclamation Board promulgated rules and regulations for coal mining and reclamation activities beginning in 1980.
Foidel Creek Mine - photo courtesy of Twentymile Coal Company.