The Sierra Fund’s bill being carried by Senator Fran Pavley to amend the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) got all of the way through the Senate and to the floor of the Assembly before being put on a shelf until winter.
This bill aims to improve enforcement of SMARA by lead agencies (usually cities and counties). Key elements of SMARA include ensuring regular and expert inspections, adequate financial mechanisms in place to support reclamation, and a good reclamation plan that is implemented when mining ends.
The Sierra Fund CEO Elizabeth Martin participated in a Governor-convened weekly “stakeholder meeting” to discuss SMARA issues in spring 2015, and this group collaboratively developed some good ideas on SMARA reform that the local agencies, administration, mining industry, and conservation community could support. Over the next couple of months we hope to fine-tune these ideas and figure out which of them could become part of the legislative package for next year.