OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT
We are a bureau within the United States Department of the Interior. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is organized with Headquarters located in Washington DC, three regional offices the Appalachian, Mid-Continent, and Western regional offices. The regional offices are comprised of Area and Fields offices.
OSM is responsible for establishing a nationwide program to protect society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining operations, under which OSM is charged with balancing the nations need for continued domestic coal production with protection of the environment.
The Bureau, usually referred to simply as the Office of Surface Mining or OSM, was created in 1977 when Congress enacted the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. OSM works with State and Indian Tribes to assure that citizens and the environment are protected during coal mining and that the land is restored to beneficial use when mining is finished. OSM and its partners are also responsible for reclaiming and restoring lands and water degraded by mining operations before 1977.
In its beginning, OSM directly enforced mining laws and arranged cleanup of abandoned mine lands. Today, most coal States have developed their own programs to do those jobs themselves, as Congress envisioned. OSM focuses on overseeing the State programs and developing new tools to help the States and Tribes get the job done.
OSM works with colleges and universities and other State and Federal agencies to further the science of reclaiming mined lands and protecting the environment, including initiatives to promote planting more trees and establishing much-needed wildlife habitat. Each year OSM trains hundreds of State and Tribal professionals in a broad range of needed skills.
Although a small Bureau, OSM has achieved big results by working closely with those closest to the problem: the States, Tribes, local groups, the coal industry and communities.