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A Step-by-Step Analysis of the Interim Federal Surface Mining Program

March 1978

Citation: 8 ELR 50001

Issue: 3

Author: John P. Williams

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, signed into law on August 3, 1977, authorized the Department of the Interior to issue regulations implementing the Act's environmental protection provisions.1 The Secretary of the Interior was required to promulgate interim regulations within 90 days of the date of enactment2 and to issue permanent regulations within one year.3

On December 13, 1977, the Department promulgated the interim regulations,4 missing the statutory deadline by 42 days.5 These interim regulations will govern surface mining operations on nonfederal lands until the approval of a state's regulatory program by the Department or the implementation of a federal regulatory program in that state.6 The Secretary will administer the regulations through his Assistant Secretary for Energy and Minerals and the newly created Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.7

Mr. Williams (B.A. 1969, Davidson College; J.D. 1972, Vanderbilt University; Member, Tennessee Bar) was a staff attorney with the East Tennessee Research Corporation at the time this article was prepared. He is currently with the Solicitor's Office of the Department of the Interior. The views expressed in this Article are the author's own and do not represent the official position of the Department of the Interior or any other agency or department of the United States.

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