U.S. Department of the Interior

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For More Information:

John Trelease
Division of Regulatory Support
Washington, DC
(202) 208-2783

Contact OSMRE


Citizen's Request for an Inspection

How to Request a State or Federal Inspection of a Coal Mine


Under the Surface Mining Law you, a citizen, may request an inspection if a violation is suspected. If your request provides a reasonable basis to believe that a violation exists, you also have the right to accompany the mine inspector when he completes the inspection. The procedure for requesting an inspection should begin with filing a request with the state agency, or with us, the Office of Surface Mining in the states of Tennessee and Washington, or on Indian lands.

You may make your request in writing or orally, although your oral request must be followed by a written statement. The state regulatory or reclamation agency will conduct an inspection if you provide it with a reason to believe that a violation exists. The state must conduct its inspection within 15 days of receipt of your request. If there is reason to believe that an imminent danger to the public or environment exists, an immediate inspection will be conducted. If the state agency does not conduct an inspection, or if you are dissatisfied with the inspection's thoroughness, you can request an informal review of that decision by the head of the agency. The state agency must respond to a citizen's request for review in writing within a reasonable time period (usually no more than 30 days).

In states with an approved state regulatory or reclamation program, you can file a citizen request with BOTH the state agency and us. The state will bear the primary responsibility for conducting an inspection and for taking any enforcement action. If you make your request directly with us, we will notify the state agency which will have 10 days to take action. If, at the end of that period, the state has not taken action, or not given good cause for their action, we will conduct a federal inspection.

The following is a Citizen's Request for an Inspection form that can be used to file a request for an inspection. Sending this completed form will initiate the procedure described above -- the state or Office of Surface Mining will receive a copy (depending on which agency you send to) and the state will investigate the facts you present on the form. Before sending this Citizen’s Request for an Inspection form you may have questions or want to discuss the potential problem with the state agency responsible for the mine you think is in violation. We have also included a sample form that may be used as a guide to ensure you have collected the necessary information.

To send a Citizen's Request for An Inspection to the state regulatory or reclamation agency, follow this State agency link which will lead you to the contact for the appropriate state agency. To submit your request directly to us, complete the form and select the submit button. We will forward your request to the appropriate state agency.

If you have questions about filing a request for inspection, you may also contact a local OSMRE contact.

Note: Additional items may be attached to your email message along with the completed form.

You may also mail/fax your completed form (and additional items) to:

Attn: Regulatory Division Chief
U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
Division of Regulatory Support, Room 203 SIB
1951 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Fax: (202) 219-0239

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 4/24/17

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