Rules, Regulations, and Forms

  • Surface Mining and Reclamation
  • Oil and Gas
  • Geothermal
  • Important Notice

    A recent fee schedule adjustment approved in House Bill 1406 and effective on November 1, 2017: 1) replaces the current three-tier, tonnage-based annual fee structure to a single annual fee; 2) adjusts application fees; and 3) removes the Annual Production Report requirement.

    In Washington, "reclamation" means rehabilitation of disturbed areas resulting from surface or underground mining. The basic objective of reclamation at mines is to reestablish the vegetative cover, soil stability, and water conditions at the site. As a second beneficial use, mines are reclaimed for fish and wildlife, grazing, forestry, wetlands, and commercial and industrial uses.

    Assuring reclamation of Washington’s permitted mines is a key responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Washington Geological Survey.

    The original Surface Mining Act passed in 1971 and was amended in 1993 to assure that every mine in the state is thoroughly reclaimed. DNR is responsible for ensuring that reclamation follows completion of surface and underground mining. The DNR has exclusive authority to regulate mine reclamation and approve reclamation plans.

    Mine operations, which are all mine-related activities except reclamation, are specifically regulated by local governments or state and federal agencies exclusive of DNR.

    The state surface mining reclamation permit issued by DNR to the permit holders applies to most of the surface mines in Washington.

    RCWs & WACssm

    The Surface Mining Act is a reclamation law that requires a permit for each mine that: (1) results in more than 3 acres of mine-related disturbance, or (2) has a high-wall that is both higher than 30 feet and steeper than 45 degrees (RCW 78.44, chapter 332-18 WAC.

    Local governments must formally approve mine sites and/or the subsequent use of the mine site (RCW 78.44.091) prior to receiving a reclamation permit. This approval process generally makes local jurisdictions the lead agency according to State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) rules (chapter 43.21C RCW).


      Application for Surface Mine Reclamation Permit
    Application for Reclamation Permit Form SM-8A Microsoft Word
    Instructions for form SM-8A PDF
    Additional information requirements for mines with potentially unstable or steep slopes Microsoft Word
    Additional information requirements for hydrologically sensitive areas Microsoft Word
    Additional information requirements for flood plain mines Microsoft Word
      Local Approval for Mining
    County or municipality approval for surface mining Form SM-6 PDF form
      Performance Security Forms, Instructions and Calculation Methods
    Surface mining reclamation bond Form SM-1 PDF form
    Instructions for performance securities Microsoft Word
    Surface mining savings account assignment Form SM-4 PDF form
    Surface mining savings certificate assignment Form SM-5 PDF form
    Standard performance security calculation Form SM-10 Microsoft Excel
    Irrevocable letter of credit Form SM-11
    Bank must have office in Washington State
    Microsoft Word--Must be printed on bank letterhead
    Blanket performance security statement of financial ability Form SM-12 Microsoft Word Template
    Blanket performance security notice of risk of lien and landowner acknowledgment Form SM-13 Microsoft Word
    Surface mining reclamation blanket bond Form SM-14 Microsoft Word
     Transferring Permit or Changing Name of Permit Holder
    Request for transfer of surface mine reclamation permit Form SM-2B PDF
     State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Forms, Rules and Handbook
    SEPA forms—Department of Ecology Website
    Current SEPA actions Website
      Application for an Exploration Reclamation Permit
    Application for an exploration reclamation permit Form SM-2E Microsoft Word
    Mineral exploration well / drill hole plugging and abandonment PDF
      Precipitation Guides
    Washington's climate summaries website
    10-year, 24-hour precipitaiton—isopluvials PDF
    25-year, 24-hour precipitation—isopluvials PDF


    As of November 1, 2017:

      Application Fee Schedule
    New permits $4,500
    Combining two or more permits $4,500
    Expanding existing plan (depth and/or acreage) $4,500
    Revising existing plan (same depth and acreage) $2,500
      Annual Permit Fee
    Set fee (regardless of amount mined) $2,000


  • RCWs & WACsog

    The Department of Natural Resources, through the Washington Geological Survey, regulates drilling and related activities under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act and Department of Natural Resources rules (chapter 78.52 RCW and chapter 344-12 WAC). (In 1994, the Legislature dissolved the Oil and Gas Conservation Committee and assigned its regulatory responsibilities to the Department of Natural Resources.) In the event of a discovery, the Department would also regulate production to assure equitable distribution of the proceeds.


    Oil and gas drilling permit requirements PDF
    Instructions for oil and gas drilling permit applicants PDF
    Oil and gas drilling permit application Form 1 PDF
    Well record or history Form 2 PDF
    Notice of intention to abandon and plug well Form 3 PDF
    Report on results on plugging well Form 4 PDF
    Oil and gas drilling and production bond Microsoft Word


      Description   Depth   Fee
    To drill, re-drill or deepen a well
      up to 3,500 feet $250
      3,501 to 7,000 feet $500
      7,001 to 12,000 feet $750
      greater than 12,000 feet $1,000
    Shallow well up to 2,000 feet $100
    Notification for seismic shot holes   $100
      Performance Bonds—Oil and Gas Supervisor sets amount
    One well $50,000 minimum
    Two or more wells—blanket bond $250,000 minimum
    Shallow well—less than 2,000 feet $20,000
  • The Department regulates Geothermal Resources under chapter 78.60 RCW and chapter 332-17 WAC.


    Instruction for geothermal exploration permit applicants PDF
    Geothermal exploration permit application Form 1 PDF
    Well record or history Form 2 PDF
    Notice of intention to abandon and plug well Form 3 PDF
    Report on results on plugging well Form 4 PDF
    Geothermal drilling and production bond Microsoft Word


      Geothermal Exploration Fees
    To drill, re-drill or deepen a well $200
      Bonds—Geothermal Supervisor sets amount
    Coreholes (less than 750 feet deep)
       One corehole  $5,000 minimum
       Two or more coreholes—blanket bond $25,000 minimum
    Wells (greater than 750 feet)  
       One well $15,000 minimum
       Two or more wells—blanket bond $50,000 minimum