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Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative Tool Kit: Statutory Framework for Mine Revitalization and Related Challenges

The key federal statutes that are applicable to the cleanup and reuse of former mines are described below. Sometimes these laws overlap or there are gaps in revitalization assistance. Some of the MSL communities have had to address regulatory complexities involving potential liability for innocent parties and gaps in what reclamation assistance will provide.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
Provides funding for cleanups, either through payment for or implementation of cleanups by responsible parties.

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA)
Created the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Fund to pay for remediation associated with pre-1977 coal mining activities, and regulates current coal mining activity and reclamation.

Clean Water Act (CWA)
Regulates discharge of pollutants into navigable waters, including those associated with mine-scarred lands.

Small Business Liability and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law)
Authorizes funding to assess and clean up mine-scarred lands and provides certain liability clarifications.

General Mining Law of 1872
Granted free access to prospect for minerals on public lands and allows for the purchase of these lands.

Clean Air Act (CAA)
Establishes federal air quality standards and regulates polluting emissions through state implementation plans.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Governs the management of solid and hazardous waste, including those associated with mine-scarred lands.

Project Examples for Statutory Framework for Mine Revitalization and Related Challenges


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