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Laws and Regulations for Coal Mining and Reclamation

Ohio Law and Rules

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Minerals Resources Management regulates coal mining and reclamation in Ohio. The Chief of the Division has regulatory authority under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1513 (the law) and Ohio Administrative Code 1501:13 (the rules).

The Division of Mineral Resources Management also regulates mining with regard to Mine Safety. Please see the Mine Safety laws and rules website page for more information. 

Amended Coal Rules, effective 11/26/2020

Five Coal rules with amendments take effect November 26, 2020. To see the changes that were made, click on the rule below:

1501:13-1-14 Incorporation by reference.
1501:13-4-03 Permit applications; requirements for legal, financial, compliance and related information.
1501:13-4-07 Annual reports and maps.
1501:13-5-01 Review, public participation, and approval or disapproval of permit applications and permit terms and conditions.
1501:13-13-02 Auger mining additional performance standards.


Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act (SMCRA)

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) was a landmark federal law that established stringent national standards for coal mining and reclamation. SMCRA created the federal Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE).

Because of the diverse coal mining conditions in the United States, Congress intended that the states become the primary regulator. Each state proposes its own laws and regulations for the coal mining industry. These laws and regulations must meet or exceed federal standards and are subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior. This procedure allows individual states to gain primacy control over the regulation of surface mining. The Secretary of the Interior approved both the Coal Regulatory and Abandoned Mine Lands portions of Ohio's primacy program in 1982. OSMRE provides federal oversight of Ohio's program.

State and Federal Regulatory Oversight

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) provides oversight and support to the Ohio coal regulatory program. Together, OSMRE and the Division of Mineral Resources Management developed a performance agreement that considers the goals and objectives of both agencies, as well as action plans for regulatory program areas of concern that have not been resolved or will not be resolved within 180 days.

In addition to Ohio law and rules for mining and reclamation, operators must comply with a host of other local, state, and federal laws and programs to maintain a permit to mine coal in Ohio. Federal laws include the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Federal Coal Mine Safety and Health Act, Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, National Historic Preservation Act, the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act, and Executive Order 11593 which relates to the protection of both historic and prehistoric sites.

  • Refer to the 2020 Performance Agreement between OSMRE and the Division of Mineral Resources Management (see Additional Downloads to the right of this page).

OSMRE establishes policies and procedures for oversight evaluations of state regulatory programs. OSMRE field and regional offices maintain an evaluation file and prepare an annual evaluation report for each state. 

  • Refer to the OSMRE 2019 annual evaluation report for Ohio (see Additional Downloads to the right of this page).

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification (arrangement) of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The CFR is divided into 50 titles covering broad subject areas of Federal regulations.

Title 30, Mineral Resources, contains the federal requirements for mine safety and coal mining and reclamation. Title 30, Chapter I, Parts 1-199 contains the regulations of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Title 30, Chapter VII, Parts 700-955 contains the regulations of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. 

Refer to 30 CFR Parts 1-199 and Parts 700-955 (see Related Laws and Forms to the right of this page).

US Fish and Wildlife Service (Northern Long-Eared Bat)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a final rule that identifies Endangered Species Act protections for the northern log-eared bat, effective February 16, 2016. Questions regarding how Ohio coal mining operations and applications are required to comply with these regulations should be directed to the USFWS Columbus field office.