The State Mining and Geology Board (Board) serves as a regulatory, policy, and hearing body representing the State's interests in geology, geologic, and seismologic hazards, the conservation of mineral resources, and the reclamation of mining lands.
The Board was established in 1885 as the Board of Trustees to oversee the activities of the State Mineralogist and the California Division of Mines and Geology (now the California Geological Survey). It is the second oldest Board in California. Today's Board has nine members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate, for four-year terms. By statute, Board members must have specific professional backgrounds in geology, mining engineering, environmental protection, groundwater hydrology and rock chemistry, urban planning, landscape architecture, mineral resource conservation, and seismology, with one member representing the general public.
The mission of Board is to provide professional expertise and guidance, and to represent the State’s interest in the development, utilization, and
conservation of mineral resources, the reclamation of mined lands, and the development
and dissemination of geologic and seismic hazard information to protect the
health and welfare of the people of California.
Statutory and Regulatory Authority
The Board operates within the Natural Resources Agency, and is granted responsibilities and obligations under the following acts:
Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (SMARA)
Under this act, Public Resources Code Sections 2710 et seq. and its regulations at 14 California Code of Regulations Section 3500 et seq., the Board provides a comprehensive surface mining and reclamation policy to assure that adverse environmental impacts are minimized and mined lands are reclaimed. SMARA also encourages the production, conservation, and protection of the State's mineral resources.
Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act (A-P)
Under this Act, Public Resources Code Section 2621 through Section 2630, and its regulations at 14 California Code of Regulations Section 3600 et seq., the Board is authorized to represent the State's interests in establishing guidelines and standards for geological and geophysical investigations and reports produced by the California Geological Survey, public sector agencies, and private practitioners. The Board is also authorized to develop specific criteria through regulations to be used by Lead Agencies in complying with the provisions of the Act so as to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
Seismic Hazards Mapping Act (SHMA)
Under this Act, Public Resources Code Section 2690 through Section 2699.6, and its regulations at 10 California Code of Regulations Section 3720 et seq., the Board is authorized to provide policy and guidance through regulations for a statewide seismic hazard mapping and technical advisory program to assist cities, counties, and State agencies in fulfilling their responsibilities for protecting the public health and safety from the effects of strong ground shaking, liquefaction or other ground failure, landslides and other seismic hazards caused by earthquakes, including tsunami and seiche threats.
Other Authorities Related to the Board
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
CEQA requires California state and local agencies to determine the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.
California Endangered Species Act
Fish and Game Code 2050 et seq., makes it illegal to "take" State-listed endangered, threatened, or candidate species, except as authorized by California Department of Fish and Game.
Fish and Game, Code Section 5650
Makes it illegal to permit the passage of any substance deleterious to fish, plants, or bird life to the waters of the state, unless authorized by regional board waste discharge requirements or a federal permit for which Clean Water Act, Section 401 state certification is issued.
Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act
Based on the Water Code 13000 et seq. this act regulates the discharge of waste that could affect State waters subject to waste discharge requirements (WDR). One of six Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB) reviews a mining proposal, holds public meetings, and requires a separate reclamation bond.