Next Article in Journal
Jumping the Chain: How Downstream Manufacturers Engage with Deep Suppliers of Conflict Minerals
Next Article in Special Issue
Energy Utilization Potential of Wheat Straw in an Ecological Balance—A Case Study of Henan Province in China
Previous Article in Journal
Thermal Conversion of Municipal Biowaste Anaerobic Digestate to Valuable Char
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Relationship of Causal Factors Affecting the Future Equilibrium Change of Total Final Energy Consumption in Thailand’s Construction Sector under a Sustainable Development Goal: Enriching the SE-VARX Model
Open AccessArticle

Exploring the Policy Implications of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

1
Political Science, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84323, USA
2
Economics and Finance, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84323, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Resources 2019, 8(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010025
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 25 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Natural Resource Economics and Policy)
This paper explores how policy structure, institutions, and political climate impact the ability of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) to ensure the reclamation of surface coal mines. We conduct a policy review that traces the impacts of the three parts of SMCRA; Reclamation Standards, Reclamation Bonding Requirements, and the Abandoned Mine Land fund. We examine the implications the act and its approach have for the mining industry and their ability to reclaim mining areas. We find that each of the three parts of SMCRA’s approach face substantial problems in their implementation. Though largely a positive force for internalizing the environmental costs of surface mining, those issues commonly elucidated in the public choice literature reduce the efficacy of the policy approach and call into question the act’s ability to ensure reclamation occurs. Both in the structure of the bonding requirements and in the regulatory structure created by the act, misaligned incentives sometimes hamper effective reclamation. Further, the funds created under SMCRA to reclaim and restore mined lands have often been directed towards projects that are politically expedient for politicians instead of those that would best serve the fund’s original reclamation purpose. After revealing these problems and putting them in the context of the public choice literature, we suggest updates to the current policy that would align reclamation incentives and better ensure that the reclamation of surface mines occurs. We emphasize the cooperative elements of SMCRA and suggest how other countries, especially those without major existing frameworks for handling reclamation, can emulate the successes of SMCRA while avoiding its implementations snags. View Full-Text
Keywords: mining policy; surface mining; reclamation; bonding requirements mining policy; surface mining; reclamation; bonding requirements
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Yonk, R.M.; Smith, J.T.; Wardle, A.R. Exploring the Policy Implications of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Resources 2019, 8, 25.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop