Mining Control And Reclamation Act ( Smcra ) Essay

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Dirty energy production in the United States has disastrous environmental impacts thanks to a broken regulatory system. Environmental devastation from coal extraction is unmatched. The most popular form of coal mining is mountaintop removal mining, a form of surface mining which removes mountaintops to reach coal. The popularity of mountaintop removal mining is due to the cost-effectiveness of the process; unfortunately, the only one saving on costs is the miners, and at the expense of the environment. Deforestation; harm in aquatic communities; accelerated sediment and nutrient transport; increased algal production, as well as possible human health impacts from poorly regulated remediation requirements by SMCRA, results in gross environmental degradation. This essay proposes an amendment to section 515 (the approximate original contour requirement) of SMCRA; restoration should require the reclaimed area to have the same environmental utility it had prior to the mining operation. A brief overview of mountaintop removal mining and mine remediation processes will be provided at the outset of the essay. Further, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) will be explained in regards to mountaintop removal mining remediation. The aforementioned is supplemented by a brief explanation of other related regulations. Lastly, judicial precedent will be used to verify the utility of the proposed amendments to SMCRA. The positive environmental impact that would result if the
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