If a new law on mountaintop removal doesn't solve problems caused by the mining, the Legislature will revisit the issue next year, a lead sponsor of the bill said Thursday.
"I think it was a good start," said Sen. Lloyd Jackson, D-Lincoln. "This is complex legislation and a difficult, complex issue.
"If we don't have it right, so that the economics and the people are protected, we'll go back and take another look at it next year."
Jackson was the lead author of a bill, passed by the Legislature Saturday, which supporters say will:
Require more pre-blast surveys of homes near mine sites, and force companies to submit site-specific blasting plans, with more detailed information the closer mines move to homes and other buildings.
Create an Office of Blasting within the state Division of Environmental Protection to write and enforce the new blasting rules and regulations.
Make coal companies more responsible for damage to water supplies from blasting, and make it easier for citizens to seek compensation for property damage caused by mining.
Create an Office of Coalfield Development within the state Development Office. The office will work to promote development of mountaintop mining sites.
Repeal parts of the mining mitigation bill that allowed larger streams to be buried by valley fills without compensation to the state.
The bill approved by the Legislature was modeled after some of the recommendations of a mountaintop removal task force appointed by Gov. Cecil Underwood.