The Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act (SMCRA) defines bodies of land and waters which are eligible for reclamation per 875.12 of the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America:
Noncoal lands and water are eligible if:
- They were mined or affected by mining processes;
- They were mind and left or abandoned in either an unreclaimed or inadequately reclamated condition prior to August 3rd, 1977;
- There is no continuing responsibility for reclamation by the operator, permittee, or agent of the permittee under statutes of the State of Federal Government or by the State as a result of bond forfeiture. Bond forfeiture will render lands or water ineligible only if the amount forfeited is sufficient to pay the total cost of the necessary reclamation. In cases where the forfeited bond is insufficient to pay the total cost of reclamation, monies sufficient to complete the reclamation may be sought under parts 886 or 888 of this chapter;
- The reclamation has been requested by the Governor of the State or equivalent head of the Indian tribe; and
- The reclamation is necessary to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, and property from extreme danger of adverse effects of noncoal mining practices.
Priorities (as established by SMCRA):
- the protection of public health, safety, and property from extreme danger of adverse effects of coal mining practices.
- The protection of public health and safety from adverse effects of coal mining practices
- The restoration of land and water resources and the environment previously degraded by adverse effects of coal mining practices (including measures for the conservation and development of soil, water (excluding channelization), woodland, fish and wildlife, recreation resources and agricultural productivity.
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