|Eliminating AMD from abandoned mines and
restoring rivers and streams to a healthy state represent significant
challenges. While the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of
1977 (SMCRA, often pronounced "smack-ra" or "smick-ra") provides a powerful
vehicle for citizen and agency oversight of post 1977 mining operations, the
authority for government action at pre-law, or abandoned mines is limited;
identifying parties responsible for conditions at abandoned sites is
difficult and often impossible.
It's estimated that in Pennsylvania alone, the cost of addressing all of the environmental impacts of mining activities prior to the passage of SMCRA would be in the neighborhood of $15 BILLION. Therefore it's not likely that public funds alone will ever be sufficient to tackle this monumental set of problems.
Considering the scope of the challenge and the resources required to mount a successful clean-up program, it is widely recognized that an active, cooperative partnership between involved citizens, academia, industry, and public agencies is essential in attacking AMD from abandoned mines.
What are Pre-law mines?
Testimony of Robert Dolence, Deputy Secretary For Mineral Resources Management Pennsylvania Department Of Environmental Protection before the Committee on Resources U.S. House Of Representatives, January 24, 2000 Scranton, PA
Reclaim PA - Healing the Land and Water Pennsylvania's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program