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2016 marks historic improvements to the State Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) through two bills enacted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. on April 18 after a year-long stakeholder process he convened.
Together, SB 209, by Senator Fran Pavley, and AB 1142, by Assemblymember Adam Gray better ensure that mine operators restore lands to a natural or usable condition after mining production ends. They promote the reclamation of mine lands in California by giving more flexibility, funding and training to counties for inspections, and improving the requirements for financial assurances from operators. The measures also give more authority to the state to ensure consistent, meaningful reclamation standards.
As a part of the expansion and strengthening of the law, starting January, 2017, OMR will be renamed the Division of Mines and Reclamation at the Department of Conservation, led by a Supervisor of Mines and Reclamation.