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2017 Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards

2016 Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Award Winners

Congratulations to all of the 2016 Winners. Read all about the winning projects.

Call for Nominations

Active Mine Award Logo

Award winners are recognized for developing innovative reclamation techniques or who have completed reclamation that resulted in outstanding on-the-ground performance. The awards program is designed to help state and Federal regulators transfer outstanding reclamation methods and techniques from award-winning operations to other coal mine operators who work under the Surface Mining Law nationwide.

Nominations for an Award

Coal companies, regulatory authorities, state or Federal mine inspectors, interest groups, or landowners may submit nominations. Company officials and employees may nominate their own operations.

National Awards

A coal mining operation may be nominated for achievement in a specific aspect of reclamation, or for overall performance in meeting goals of the Surface Mining Law. All nominations should include on-the-ground results for however long the results have been in place. For example, a nomination for stream restoration should include several years of water quality monitoring data.

Good Neighbor Awards

Good Neighbor Awards are given to mine operators for successfully working with the surrounding land owners and the community while completing mining and reclamation. Nominations for this category should briefly describe the mining and reclamation operation (using both narrative and photos), and include testimonial letters and/or other documentation of a successful good neighbor policy.

Award Eligibility

Surface coal mining and reclamation operations conducted under a Title V permit (1978 - present) may be nominated. In addition, non-permitted mining and reclamation completed using Government Financial Reclamation Contracts under the Enhanced Abandoned Mine Land regulations is also eligible for nomination. Abandoned Mine Land reclamation projects carried out exclusive of active mining are not included in this program. AML projects are eligible for a National Award if they are integrated with Title V permitted operations.


Electronic nominations are due to the appropriate regulatory authorities or the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) field office in non-primacy states by April 27, 2017. Nominations will be screened by the regulatory authority. For a list of regulatory authority (RA) points of contact for each coal-producing state or tribe, click here. The RA will forward the best entries (a maximum of four National Awards, and two Good Neighbor Awards from each state), to the OSMRE field offices. Field offices will evaluate and forward the nominations to the OSMRE Headquarters in Washington, D.C., for judging in Summer 2017.

Required for Nominations:

A. Cover sheet containing (click here for the application form):

  1. Company name.
  2. Name and location of the nominated mining operation.
  3. Permit number(s) of site being nominated.
  4. Award category (the same nomination may be submitted in the Good Neighbor and National Award categories).
  5. Name, address, phone number, and e-mail address of a company contact person (and of the person submitting the nomination, if different).
  6. Names and titles of all individuals directly responsible for on-the-ground reclamation at the nominated site.

B. Narrative description of the specific reclamation or environmental control techniques that resulted in exemplary performance under the Surface Mining Law

The narrative should describe the mining operation and the specific activity nominated for an award using the following outline (not to exceed six single-spaced pages).

  1. Brief summary of the mining and reclamation project.
  2. Description of the nominated activity or reclamation practice, including specific problems, solutions, and unusual circumstances.
  3. On-site effectiveness of the work. This should be documented and quantified with data.
  4. Transferability or value of the accomplishment(s) to other mining and reclamation operations.
  5. Long-term benefits to the landowner and local or regional community.

C. Graphic and Photos (including maps, diagrams, or graphics)

Photos and graphics should show both the specific activity and the surrounding conditions, and provide a clear understanding of the accomplishments.

D. Electronic Submission Format

Each nomination package must include a project description in Adobe PDF format and separate .jpgs for all photos. While nominations may include photos in the project description pdf file, a separate jpg for each photo is required, (including a cover photo in .jpg format), using the following guidelines:

  1. Are 3 Megapixel (MP) in size or larger.
  2. Show before-and-after sequences (preference is for historic photos from the origins of the mine and/or the reclamation work to show progress).

E. Video Submission

Video Requirements

Please send raw, unedited video for your submission.

If you have any questions about your video submission, contact Chris Holmes at

Video Content:

It should include the following:

  • Before/after video of the site, beauty shots, shots of innovations created
  • On camera video of the work being performed
  • On-camera interviews of people affected
  • Video of the products or services that resulted from the restoration/reclamation
  • On-camera interviews with people who did the work
  • On-camera interviews with people who benefited from the work

Video Format:

  • HD Video, 1080p (or higher)
  • ambient sound only
  • no narration
  • no music
  • no graphics
  • unedited on-camera interviews to explain the project are strongly advised
  • no visible time codes
  • no date stamps

Selection Process:

An OSMRE field office representative will conduct a site visit to ensure that:

  1. On-the-ground performance conforms with the permit and is exemplary within that state or geographic area;
  2. Information in the nomination accurately reflects current site conditions;
  3. Other mining activities at the site do not detract from the award-winning activity.

OSMRE will also examine each nominee’s Surface Mining Law compliance record to ensure that there are no outstanding violations and to determine that there is no past record of not abating violations.

A panel of OSMRE judges will evaluate the nominations and select the winners.

Judging Standards for National Award:

  1. Difficulty of Achieving Reclamation under existing conditions (20 points)
  2. On-Site Effectiveness (30 points)
  3. Transferability of the Technique or Practice (12 points)
  4. Increased Public Awareness of SMCRA (8 points)
  5. Long-Term Benefits to the Community (15 points)
  6. Exceeds the Spirit and Intent of SMCRA (15 points)

Judging Standards for Good Neighbor Award:

  1. Exceeds the Spirit and Intent of SMCRA (10 points)
  2. Increased Public Awareness of SMCRA (30 points)
  3. Long-Term Benefits to the Community (35 points)
  4. Creativity/Ingenuity (25 points)

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement Federal Agencies may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OSMRE is collecting this information to give public recognition to the nation’s most outstanding achievement in environmentally sound surface mining and land reclamation, and to encourage the exchange and transfer of successful reclamation technology. The obligation to respond is voluntary. Public reporting burden for this collection is estimated to average 88 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, gathering and maintaining data, and completing and reviewing the submission. Direct comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Room 203 SIB, 1951 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 4/24/17

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