The Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement (DMRE) is responsible for inspecting all surface and underground coal mining permits in the state to assure compliance with the 1977 Federal Surface Mining Control Act (SMCRA).
The DMRE is also responsible for regulating and enforcing the surface mining reclamation laws for non-coal mining sites in the state, including limestone, sand, gravel, clay, shale and the surface effects of dredging river sand and gravel.
The DMRE is one of three agencies within the Department for Natural Resources responsible for administering Kentucky's mining, reclamation and abandoned mine land laws. The DMRE works closely with the Division of Mine Permits and the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands to ensure that all established standards of operation are addressed and that the public and the environment are protected.
The regional offices, located in Madisonville, Pikeville, London, Prestonsburg and Middlesboro, are staffed by inspectors with backgrounds in various fields associated with mining and reclamation. These inspectors, with advanced education in areas such as engineering, biology, geology and forestry, must examine each mining operation, collect soil and water samples, check the area's degree of slope and determine if backfill areas, sediment structures, access roads and revegetation are in compliance with state regulations. Mining laws require that at least one inspection of an active site be conducted each month. These mine inspections occur without prior notice to the mine operator.