Many agencies and organizations are involved in mine and reclamation planning. The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) is the lead state agency for issuing mining and reclamation permits and for enforcing the Act(s) and Regulation(s). The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has jurisdiction in enforcing air and surface and ground water quality standards. The Division of Water Resources has jurisdiction over water rights and water quantity related issues for both surface water and groundwater. Local governments regulate land use planning and zoning which governs a number of factors, including where mines can be located. In order to adhere to these standards, mining operations must obtain the necessary permits from these agencies.
Federal agency involvement and approval is also necessary for any planned mine and reclamation. Federal land management agencies include the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Department of Energy. Permission to mine must be obtained from these agencies for most mining or prospecting activities on land under federal management. All mining and prospecting operations in Colorado are subject to federal environmental laws.
Colorado’s mining and reclamation permitting process is governed by a federally mandated program implemented at the state level by DRMS. The United States Office of Surface Mining provides funding, policy and oversight pertaining to coal. Colorado’s mineral reclamation permitting process, however, does not have a federal counterpart program.