Undermined Promise II
A report on Reclamation and Enforcement of Surface Mining Control and Reclamation
For over 40 years, large scale surface coal mining has had an outsized impact on the landscape of the American West. The federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) was enacted in 1977 to ensure that coal mining operations are designed and operated to protect land, water, wildlife and local communities. SMCRA also promised that coal mines would be reclaimed in a complete and timely fashion so that mined lands could return to agricultural production and wildlife habitat. As an incentive for full and timely reclamation, SMCRA requires coal companies to post significant reclamation bonds as collateral for the risks that coal-mining entails.

Undermined Promise II finds that coal companies have fallen far behind in reclaiming mines, and, with the coal industry on shaky financial ground, the public faces increasing liability for massive reclamation costs of more than $2 billion and damage to landscapes, wildlife and crucial water supplies. The American public will be left to deal with the fallout as companies scramble to offset low prices and decreasing demand at home for coal by exporting their product to foreign markets.

Download the New Report (PDF)

Press Release

Findings and Recommendations

Executive Summary

Appendix A: Hydrologic Protections

Appendix B: Youngs Creek Mine

Appendix C: Inspection Enforcement Data

You may also download the original Undermined Promise and its appendices.



© 2015. Photo courtesy of Ecoflight.