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Federal Lands Program

Regulation of Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations

The Federal Lands Program regulates coal mining and reclamation operations on Federal lands pursuant to the SMCRA and the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (MLA).

SMCRA defines Federal lands as any land, including mineral interests, owned by the United States without regard to how the United States acquired ownership of the land and without regard to the agency having responsibility for management thereof.

In many states, OSMRE has delegated the administration of SMCRA on Federal lands to State regulatory agencies. This delegated authority is pursuant to Section 523(c) of SMCRA and State-Federal Cooperative Agreements between the Secretary of the Interior and the Governor of the respective State. The cooperative agreements provide that the States perform all permitting activities, as well as day-to-day inspections and enforcement on those mines.

However, sections 523(a) and 523(c) of the SMCRA provides that the Secretary may not delegate to the State the responsibilities to approve mining plans on Federal lands. Until the Secretary has approved the mining plan no person may conduct surface coal mining and reclamation operations on lands containing leased Federal coal.

Image of an active surface coal mine with operating equipment

Mining Plan Decision Documents

A mining plan is the plan for mining leased Federal coal required by the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. OSMRE is charged with preparing a mining plan decision document (MPDD), which will be provided to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals (ASLM). The Assistant Secretary has authority to approve, disapprove, or approve-with-conditions the mining plan.

The MPDD is developed in coordination with other agencies. This includes:

  • Findings and recommendations from the Bureau of Land Management on resource recovery and protection plans
  • State agencies on the surface coal mining and reclamation plans required by SMCRA
  • Compliance with federal regulations, such as NEPA, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act and other applicable requirements and executive orders.

MPDD and supporting documentation, including any NEPA analysis, are available to the public in the Mine Plan Reference Center: located in Denver, Colorado.

For information from the Mine Plan Reference Center, please contact Marcelo Calle (office: 303-236-2929; cell: 720-467-5524).

Federal Lands Mining Plan Decision Documents and NEPA Compliance Documentation

Below are links to the most recent mining plan recommendations. These links include copies of the NEPA analysis and supporting documentation related to either findings of no significant impact (FONSI) or findings of NEPA compliance. For mining plan recommendations older than 5 years, please contact the Mine Plan Reference Center.

Belle Ayr Mine North Tract, Contura Coal West LLC., Amendment for Federal Lease WYW-161248 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 12/12/2017)

Signal Peak Energy, LLC – Bull Mountains No. 1 Mine MTM-97988 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 08/03/2018)

Note to Reader Regarding Environmental Assessment:

On August 10, 2018, the environmental assessment (EA) for the Bull Mountains Mine No. 1 was submitted for publication to the OSMRE Western Region NEPA Compliance Documentation webpage. During the publishing process, the date on the cover page of the EA was updated to August 8, 2018. The EA submitted to the Departmental review team was dated May 11, 2018 and the finding of no significant impact was signed by the OSMRE Western Region on May 21, 2018. During the Departmental review process of the Bull Mountains Mine No. 1 mining plan modification but before it was sent to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management (ASLM), revisions were made Appendices D, H, and I.

The website has been updated to include the version of the EA and appendices sent to the ASLM

after Departmental review.

Peabody Caballo Mining, LLC – Caballo Mine WYW172657 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 04/08/2020)

Alton Coal Development, LLC – Coal Hollow Mine UTU-081895 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 07/29/2019)

Colowyo Mine, L.P. – Colowyo Coal Mine COC-123475 01 and COC-68590 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 01/16/2017)

Colowyo Mine, L.P. – Colowyo Coal Mine COC-29225 and COC-29226 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 09/04/2015)

Cordero Mining, LLC. - Cordero Rojo Mine, Duvall Amendment for Federal Lease WYW-174407 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 02/06/2018)

Western Fuels Wyoming, Inc. – Dry Fork Mine WYW0311810 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 02/20/2020)

Dry Fork Mine, Western Fuels-Wyoming, INC., Amendment for Federal Lease WYW-0271200 and Federal Lease WYW-0271201 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 12/19/2017)

Falkirk Mining Company, – Falkirk Mine, Revision 37 and 38 NDM107039 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 08/20/2018)

Foidel Creek Mine, Twentymile Coal, LLC’s, Federal Coal Lease COC54608 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 6/02/2017)

Freedom Mine, Coteau Properties Company, NDM 91535 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 10/19/2016)

Jim Bridger Mine, Bridger Coal Company, Federal Coal Lease WYW2727 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 03/27/2018)

UPCOMING:

Virtual Informal Conference Announcement

OSMRE will hold a virtual informal conference to receive comments on two proposed Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) performance bond release applications submitted by Peabody Western Coal Company (PWCC). 

What: Virtual Informal Conference Announcement
Date: January 27, 2022 
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM MST
Where: Zoom and Phone-only (information below)

The virtual informal conference will announce PWCC’s J19, J21W, and N9 application for Phase I bond release and the J16, J19, and J21 application for Phase II bond release at the Kayenta Mine, SMCRA permit AZ-0001F.

If you wish to attend, please use Zoom (either on a computer or by phone) or through the phone-only lines. 

Zoom Access Details

  • Go to: zoom.us/join
  • Enter the Meeting ID: 161 655 2372
  • Enter the Passcode: 221580

Phone-only Options (dial one of these US options):

  • (669) 254 5252 or
  • (669) 216 1590 or
  • (551) 285 1373 or
  • (646) 828 7666 or
  • and use Meeting ID: 161 655 2372 and Passcode: 221580 when prompted

The bond release applications submitted by Peabody Western Coal Company (PWCC) request the release of Phase I bond and liability on 929 acres in portions of the J19, J21W, and N9 areas and Phase II bond and liability on 2,650 acres in portions of the J16, J19, and J21 areas at the Kayenta Mine located in northern Navajo County, Arizona.

Copies of the bond release applications are available below under "related materials" as well as for public review at the following locations:

  • The Navajo Nation Minerals Department, Office of Surface Mining, Window Rock, AZ 86515
  • Forest Lake Chapter House Navajo Route 41, 14 Miles North of Pinon, Pinon, AZ 86510
  • PWCC’s Kayenta Mine Mesa Central Warehouse Office Complex, 8 miles from Hwy 160 and Route 41 Junction, Kayenta Arizona 86033
  • Hopi Tribe, Office of Mining and Mineral Resources, Highway 264, Kykotsmovi, AZ 86039

Materials related to Kayenta and Black Mesa Mines Bond Releases:

King II Mine, GCC of America, Inc., Federal Coal Lease COC-62920 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 03/27/2018)

Western Energy Company - Rosebud Mine, Area F M82186 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 7/15/2019)

Westmoreland San Juan Mining LLC – San Juan Mine Deep Lease Extension NM- 99144 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 08/26/2019)

Skyline Mine, Canyon Fuel Company, LLC’s, Federal Coal Lease UTU-77114 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 5/11/2017)

Spring Creek Mine TR 1 Mining Plan Modification (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated (07/08/2020)

Spring Creek Mine LBA 1 Mining Plan Modification (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 10/03/2016)

Canyon Fuel Company, LLC – Sufco Mine, Greens Hollow Tract UTU-84102 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 06/21/2018)

Trapper Mining Inc’s, Trapper Mine for Federal Coal Leases C07519 and C079641 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 4/29/16)

Mountain Coal Company – West Elk Mine COC1362 and COC67232 (Mining Plan Approval Document Dated 01/13/2020)