Coal & Industrial Minerals Mining
Environmental Regulatory Program
This program oversees active mining operations and the reclamation of the land by the mining company after the extraction of coal or other minerals.
DMRM has the unique and difficult responsibility of regulating the mining industry in a way which strikes a balance between protecting society and the environment from the adverse effects of mining operations and satisfying the nation's need for coal and other minerals as essential resources for economic growth.
The Regulatory Program involves three primary areas:
technical (hydrology, engineering, blasting, soils, and archaeology)
Responsibilities of the permitting section include reviewing permit applications, amendments, revisions, and land use changes. The permitting section works closely with the inspection and enforcement staff to ensure that permits contain proper safeguards and comply with all requirements.
In addition to environmental specialists, the permitting staff includes hydrologists, engineers, archeologists, soil scientists, and blasting experts who provide technical assistance to all other DMRM sections. Their main responsibilities are reviewing the technical aspects of permit applications with regard to the area to be mined and technical matters during mining and reclamation, such as:
- hydrological impacts
- mine drainage control
- soil conditions and land capability
- wildlife habitat
- underground mine subsidence control
- land use and revegetation
- prime farmland productivity restoration
- cultural and historic resources
The inspection and enforcement section includes highly trained reclamation inspectors responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations designed to protect both people and the environment from the potential impacts of mining. Reclamation inspectors monitor mining activities from the time the permit is issued until the last acres are reclaimed and bond is released. Emphasis is placed on the following:
- topsoil handling
- protection of surface and subsurface water systems
- regrading, revegetation and reforestation
- proper blasting procedure
- minimizing potential damage to land and structures caused by underground mine subsidence
- proper toxic material handling