The Arkansas Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act authorizes the state to develop, adopt, issue and amend rules and regulations pertaining to surface coal mining and reclamation operations. These regulations are consistent with, but no more restrictive that the federal regulations set forth in the Surface Mining and Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Surface Mining and Reclamation Division (SMRD) is the authority under this act. Regulation No. 20 from the ADEQ sets performance and reclamation standards.
The surface coal mining permit is active for up to five years. Work cannot begin until all the permitting requirements are met, public notice periods are completed and the permit is issued. Operators must complete reclamation upon expiration of the permit. A bond is posted to cover reclamation costs if an operator fails to reclaim the site to standards set in Regulation No. 20. A fee is assessed on coal mined in the United States and is placed in a trust fund that is used for reclamation of pre-law abandoned mine sites. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration regulates safety and health issues for coal mine employees.
Under this Act an operator of a coal mine must submit the following application materials: Collateral Bond Agreement, Collateral Bond Form, Surety Bond, Irrevocable Letter of Credit, Coal Mining Application/Permit and, Memo from AR Board for Prof. Geologists on Interpretation and Analysis. In addition all coal mining operators must follow the Revegetation Success Standards outlined by the ADEQ.