If we are to understand the land reclamation laws in Colorado thoroughly, we need to take a look at history for a moment. Claystone Construction believes in responsible land reclamation practices, ones that preserve the environment and benefit the uses of newly created or restored land. Did you know there used to be zero laws protecting the environment when it came to land reclamation? This is where we’ll start in history to explain how the laws emerged.
1975 and The “Wild West”
Prior to 1975, land reclamation in the historical sense allowed people to disturb the environment freely without any recourse to their actions. This meant that a band of miners could redirect a riverbed to get at raw materials. Once they were finished mining, they could legally walk away from the area and not restore the land to its natural state. This affected the surrounding habitat negatively. In recent years, mining reclamation projects sprung up, but they are infrequent and poorly funded since the entire process is costly.
Soon into 1976, Colorado began to take notice of the negative land reclamation practices that were wreaking havoc on the environment. The methods were irresponsible and shortsighted. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources created the Mined Land Reclamation Division to regulate non-coal mining operations throughout the entire state. Colorado shortly passed the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act, which oversaw the non-coal mining operations and regulations.
1977 and Beyond
The federal government took notice of the negative effects of irresponsible land reclamation and passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to address the regulation of coal mines.
A few years later in 1979 Colorado passed the Colorado Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act as a mirror equivalent to the federal law passed two years prior, and in 1980, administration and adjudication of coal mines are passed, too.
As time passes, other states and the numerous land reclamation contractors across the nation are abiding by the federal laws, keeping the preservation of the environment at the top of mind.
The Future of Land Reclamation
Colorado alone inherited over 23,000 disturbed sites, which were all effected prior to 1975. The state has been deemed responsible for reclamation and restoration of these sites to improve and preserve the surrounding habitats and the environment as a whole.
As the mine and land reclamation industry moves forward, it’s a priority to ensure the safety and preservation of the environment. Before mines are permitted to move forward, they’re required to have a reclamation process established, which means the environmental effects come first when planning an entire project. Claystone takes pride in being able to serve the industry for more than 60 years and successfully completing various mine and land reclamation projects along the way.
If you want land reclamation done right, choose Claystone. We’ve been serving land reclamation needs for more than 60 years. We’ve evolved and adjusted to practice better land reclamation methods to preserve and improve the environment we’ve come into contact with. When you’re ready to plan, start, and complete your land reclamation project, give us a call today!