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Development and Legislation of Environmental Regulations For Mining

Robert G. Beverly, Proceedings of 15th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1969)

During the past ten years industry has witnessed the legislation of more regulations and standards influencing its operations than were probably thought of during the entire nineteenth century. Recently an increasing amount of regulatory legislation has been directed toward industrial safety and environmental controls. The culmination of this barrage may be the recently proposed health and safety standards for mining issued by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Mines.1 These standards, which will require revision of all state mining codes for compatibility with the federal regulations if the states are to maintain their regulatory position, include a total of 1912 individual standards; 528 governing metal and nonmetallic open pit mines, 535 applying to sand, gravel, and crushed stone operations, and 849 standards for underground mines. There are 110 separate standards specifically for the handling of explosives underground. The standards occupied thirty-eight pages in the Federal Register. About half of these standards were promulgated through advisory committees as provided for in the Federal Metal and Nonmetallic Mine Safety Act,2 and about half were submitted by the United States Bureau of Mines. These standards proposed by the [164] Bureau of Mines are cited as an example of the deluge of regulations with which industry has recently been overwhelmed.

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