Abandoned Mined Land Reclamation in Appalachia

Scope: 

According to a compilation of individual states’ data, it has been estimated that over 8.4 billion acres of land nationwide have been disturbed by strip mining practices, including at least 1.2 million by mountaintop removal mining in Central Appalachia. This data is reported on a yearly basis to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), which is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). Designed primarily to manage the environmental effects of coal mining through pre-mining regulations and post-mining reclamation programs, SMCRA also deals with “abandoned lands,” which the Bureau of Mines defines as past mining sites that have not been reclaimed. Title IV of this act established the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program, aimed at reclaiming these lands. The effectiveness of SMCRA has been subject to criticism from various environmental groups, who claim that state and federal agencies fail to adequately enforce the act. Abandoned mined land reclamation remains a contentious issue, with environmental, economic, and legal ramifications.

This pathfinder serves as an aid for the researcher looking to find more information on abandoned mined lands reclamation, particularly in Appalachia, as well as the legislation and agencies that govern it.

Introductory Text: 

A brief recent introduction to the subject can be found in:

Medley, Landon, and Annetta Watson. “Mined Land Reclamation.” The Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. P.p. 132-133. ASU APP COLL F106 .E53 2006

A more thorough, albeit slightly dated introduction can be found in:

Johnson, Wilton, and George C. Miller. Abandoned Coal-Mined Lands: Nature, Extent and Cost of Reclamation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau of Mines, 1979. ASU APP COLL TD 195.C58 J64 1979

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

Abandoned mined lands reclamation

Abandoned Mine Lands Program (U.S.)

United States. Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977

United States. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Also Relevant:

Reclamation of land—Appalachian region

More General:

Abandoned coal mines

Abandoned coal mines—Environmental aspects

Abandoned coal mines—Government policy—United States

Related:

Strip mining

Strip mining—Appalachian region

Strip mining—Environmental aspects—United States

Strip mining—Environmental aspects—Appalachian Region

Strip mining—Environmental aspects—Appalachian Region, Southern     

Mountaintop removal mining—Appalachian region

Mountaintop removal mining—Environmental aspects—Appalachian region

Mountaintop removal mining—Environmental aspects—Appalachian region, Southern

Coal mines and mining—Appalachian Region

Environmental degradation—Appalachian region

Library of Congress Call Numbers: 

TD 195.C58

TD 272

TN 195.M5

TN 291

S 627.R47

Books: 

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Pub. L. 95-87. 91 Stat. 445-532. 3 Aug. 1977. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congress. See: ASU APP COLL KF1806 1993

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Rowe, James E. Coal Surface Mining: Impacts of Reclamation. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1979. ASU APP COLL TD195.C58 C62

The Strip Mine Handbook. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Policy Institute, 1978. ASU APP COLL HD6247.M615

Bibliographies: 

Caldwell, Nellie B. An Annotated Bibliography of the Surface-Mined Area Restoration Research Project. Berea, KY: Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, 1977. ASU APP COLL Z7911.C29

Reclamation of Coal-Mined Land: A Bibliography with Abstracts. Washington, D.C.: National Coal Association, 1975. ASU APP COLL Z6738.C6 R43

Journals: 

Appalachian Journal. Boone, NC: Appalachian State University, 1972-Present. ASU APP COLL F216.2 .A66

International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment (formerly International Journal of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Environment, 1994-2005). Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema, 2006-. Quarterly. WNCLN Online access.

Mountain Life & Work. Berea, KY: Berea College, 1925-1989. ASU APP COLL GR103 .M5

Newsletter. National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs. V. 1-, Spring 2004-, Semiannual. Available online from http://naamlp.net/publications.htm

Teutsch, Christopher D. Soil, Plant, and Animal Interactions on Reclaimed Mine-Land Pastures in Southeastern Kentucky. PhD dissertation, Lexington: University of Kentucky, 2000. ASU APP COLL MIC MicF 889

Websites: 

Abandoned Mined Lands Portal. US Bureau of Land Management, et al. Available from http://www.abandonedmines.gov

The Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement. US Department of the Interior. Available from http://www.osmre.gov

National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs. Available from http://naamlp.net

I Love Mountains. Appalachian Voices. Available from http://www.ilovemountains.org

Audio and Video Sources: 

The Ravaged Earth. Prod. Jon Boynton. Films Incorporated, 2007. Videocassette. ASU APP COLL VIDEO VC 558

Other Sources: 

Teutsch, Christopher D. Soil, Plant, and Animal Interactions on Reclaimed Mine-Land Pastures in Southeastern Kentucky. PhD dissertation, Lexington: University of Kentucky, 2000. ASU APP COLL MIC MicF 889

Compiled by: 

Rachel Simon,

December 6, 2012.