(a) Promulgation of regulations
Not later than the end of the one hundred and eighty-day period immediately following August 3, 1977, the Secretary shall promulgate and publish in the Federal Register regulations covering implementation of an abandoned mine reclamation program incorporating the provisions of this subchapter and establishing procedures and requirements for preparation, submission, and approval of State programs consisting of the plan and annual submissions of projects.
(b) Submission of State Reclamation Plan and annual projects
Each State having within its borders coal mined lands eligible for reclamation under this subchapter, may submit to the Secretary a State Reclamation Plan and annual projects to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.
The Secretary shall not approve, fund, or continue to fund a State abandoned mine reclamation program unless that State has an approved State regulatory program pursuant to section 1253 of this title.
(d) Approval of State program; withdrawal
If the Secretary determines that a State has developed and submitted a program for reclamation of abandoned mines and has the ability and necessary State legislation to implement the provisions of this subchapter, sections 1232 and 1240 of this title excepted, the Secretary shall approve such State program and shall grant to the State exclusive responsibility and authority to implement the provisions of the approved program: Provided, That the Secretary shall withdraw such approval and authorization if he determines upon the basis of information provided under this section that the State program is not in compliance with the procedures, guidelines, and requirements established under subsection (a).
(e) Contents of State Reclamation Plan
Each State Reclamation Plan shall generally identify the areas to be reclaimed, the purposes for which the reclamation is proposed, the relationship of the lands to be reclaimed and the proposed reclamation to surrounding areas, the specific criteria for ranking and identifying projects to be funded, and the legal authority and programmatic capability to perform such work in conformance with the provisions of this subchapter.
(f) Annual application for support; contents
On an annual basis, each State having an approved State Reclamation Plan may submit to the Secretary an application for the support of the State program and implementation of specific reclamation projects. Such annual requests shall include such information as may be requested by the Secretary including:
(1) a general description of each proposed project;
(2) a priority evaluation of each proposed project;
(3) a statement of the estimated benefits in such terms as: number of acres restored, miles of stream improved, acres of surface lands protected from subsidence, population protected from subsidence, air pollution, hazards of mine and coal refuse disposal area fires;
(4) an estimate of the cost for each proposed project;
(5) in the case of proposed research and demonstration projects, a description of the specific techniques to be evaluated or objective to be attained;
(6) an identification of lands or interest therein to be acquired and the estimated cost; and
(7) in each year after the first in which a plan is filed under this subchapter, an inventory of each project funded under the previous year's grant: which inventory shall include details of financial expenditures on such project together with a brief description of each such project, including project locations, landowner's name, acreage, type of reclamation performed.
The costs for each proposed project under this section shall include: actual construction costs, actual operation and maintenance costs of permanent facilities, planning and engineering costs, construction inspection costs, and other necessary administrative expenses.
(h) Grant of funds
Upon approval of State Reclamation Plan by the Secretary and of the surface mine regulatory program pursuant to section 1253 of this title, the Secretary shall grant, on an annual basis, funds to be expended in such State pursuant to section 1232(g) of this title and which are necessary to implement the State reclamation program as approved by the Secretary.
(i) Program monitorship
The Secretary, through his designated agents, will monitor the progress and quality of the program. The States shall not be required at the start of any project to submit complete copies of plans and specifications.
(j) Annual report to Secretary
The Secretary shall require annual and other reports as may be necessary to be submitted by each State administering the approved State reclamation program with funds provided under this subchapter. Such reports shall include that information which the Secretary deems necessary to fulfill his responsibilities under this subchapter.
(k) Eligible lands of Indian tribes
Indian tribes having within their jurisdiction eligible lands pursuant to section 1234 of this title or from which coal is produced, shall be considered as a "State" for the purposes of this subchapter except for purposes of subsection (c) of this section with respect to the Navajo, Hopi and Crow Indian Tribes.
(l) State liability
No State shall be liable under any provision of Federal law for any costs or damages as a result of action taken or omitted in the course of carrying out a State abandoned mine reclamation plan approved under this section. This subsection shall not preclude liability for cost or damages as a result of gross negligence or intentional misconduct by the State. For purposes of the preceding sentence, reckless, willful, or wanton misconduct shall constitute gross negligence.
1990—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101–508, §6012(d)(1), substituted "preparation" for "perparation".
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 101–508, §6012(d)(2), substituted "Upon approval" for "Upon approved".
Subsec. (l). Pub. L. 101–508, §6007, added subsec. (l).
1987—Subsec. (k). Pub. L. 100–71, which directed the amendment of subsec. (k) by inserting "except for purposes of subsection (c) of this section with respect to the Navajo, Hopi and Crow Indian Tribes" at the end thereof, was executed by making the insertion before the period to reflect the probable intent of Congress.
Effective Date of 1990 Amendment
Grant of Funds to States Under Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
Pub. L. 97–377, title I, §150, Dec. 21, 1982, 96 Stat. 1918, provided that: "Within 60 days of receipt of a complete abandoned mine reclamation fund grant application from any eligible State under the provisions of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (91 Stat. 460) [Pub. L. 95–87, see Short Title note set out under section 1201 of this title] the Secretary of Interior shall grant to such State any and all funds available for such purposes in the applicable appropriations Act."