Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are the regulations by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) strictly for coal mining?
Yes, SMCRA only regulates coal mining. Therefore, the regulations for OSMRE govern only coal mining.
Are there similar regulations for non-coal surface mining and where can I find them?
No, there are no similar national laws or regulations governing non-coal surface mining. Non-coal mining is primarily regulated by each State under the State’s laws and regulations. You can find State and Tribal contact information on our website at https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/map.shtm. The Bureau of Land Management (https://www.blm.gov) and the Forest Service (www.fs.fed.us/) have also adopted regulations imposing some restrictions on mining on Federal lands. Please visit their websites for further information.
I would like to arrange a visit for some foreign scientists to meet with OSMRE personnel. How do I do that?
Please contact the Director’s Office at 202-208-4006 to discuss your specific areas of interest.
Are there internship opportunities with OSMRE? Where can I learn more about them and apply? What about job opportunities?
You can find advertisements for all OSMRE internships (and all OSMRE jobs) at USAJOBS. This link will give you specific OSMRE opportunities: https://www.usajobs.gov/JobSearch/Search/GetResults?OrganizationID=IN22#. You can also visit our jobs page at https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/jobs.shtm.
Abandoned Mine Lands and Regulatory FAQs
How many States have primacy?
Currently, 24 States have primacy: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. There is active coal mining within all these States except Iowa.
How many Indian Tribes have primacy?
At present, no Tribes have primacy, so OSMRE directly regulates all surface coal mining and reclamation operations on Indian lands, with Tribal input and assistance.
How many States have entered into cooperative agreements with the Secretary to regulate coal mining on Federal lands within their borders?
Section 523(a) of SMCRA requires the Secretary to establish and implement a Federal regulatory program applicable to all surface coal mining and reclamation operations taking place on Federal lands. Through cooperative agreements, the Secretary may delegate the administration of most surface coal mining requirements for the Federal lands program to States with an approved regulatory program. Currently, the Secretary has entered into cooperative agreements with 14 States: Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
How many States have Federal regulatory programs?
OSMRE directly regulates surface coal mining and reclamation activities on non-Federal, non-Indian lands within a State if the State does not adopt its own program pursuant to section 503 of SMCRA. OSMRE currently operates Federal programs in 12 States: Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington. Only Tennessee has active coal mining.
Where can I find surface mining and coal production related statistics? Where can I find statistics related to the number of mines and total mineral production by mineral type for a specific year?
OSMRE does not keep these kinds of statistics. There are several organizations that might have the information you are looking for such as the National Mining Association (http://www.nma.org/) and the Energy Information Administration (https://www.eia.gov).
Can you provide a list of all active surface mines in the United States?
OSMRE does not keep that information. You can contact the individual States using our list of contacts (https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/StateTribalContacts.pdf) for this information. You can also request information from the National Mining Association (http://www.nma.org/) and the Energy Information Administration (https://www.eia.gov).
Who should I contact regarding claims, permitting, land use, licensing, and States-specific oversight, etc.?
Please direct these questions to the State regulatory agency in the State you are concerned with. See our Contacts for AML and Regulatory Programs page and select the State you are inquiring about: https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/map.shtm.
I would like to find out how to apply for staking a claim in my State.
We advise you to contact the State regulatory agency to see what is required. You can find information about all State and Tribal contacts on our web page at https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/map.shtm.
Please provide me the phone number for the OSMRE office responsible for my State's oversight.
Please see our web page with contacts for States, Indian Tribes, and OSMRE at https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/map.shtm.
Where can I get more information about Oversight? What about Annual Reports and other Oversight documents?
Information on oversight is available on our website at https://www.osmre.gov/programs/oversight.shtm. Oversight reports, including annual evaluation reports, is available on our ODocs website at https://odocs.osmre.gov.
Is it possible to view mine permits and environmental impact statements from mines in my State? Who should I contact for this information?
Please direct these questions to the State regulatory agency in the State you are concerned with. See our Contacts for AML and Regulatory Programs page and select the State you are inquiring about https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/map.shtm.
Does OSMRE maintain a database of active mining companies?
No, OSMRE does not keep an active database of mining companies. Please direct these questions to the State regulatory agency in the State you are concerned with. See our Contacts for AML and Regulatory Programs page and select the State you are inquiring about https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/map.shtm.
I am the Operations Manager for a construction company in Kentucky and was trying to get information on how to get on a bid list for OSMRE and Abandoned Lands.
Please refer to our contacts map at https://www.osmre.gov/contacts/map.shtm. You should find the OSMRE contact in whatever area your are interested in.
I have specific questions about the AVS reports available on the osmre.gov website. Who can I contact for information?
How do I access the Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System (e-AMLIS)?
The Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System (e-AMLIS) is publicly accessible and can be accessed at https://amlis.osmre.gov. There is additional information on the e-AMLIS program on our website at https://www.osmre.gov/programs/amlis.shtm.
Q: Does the OSMRE AML Inventory include all land and water damaged by past mining?
A: No, the AML Inventory only contains problems eligible for reclamation using the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund. Only coal-related problems caused by mining prior to the enactment of Surface Mining Control Reclamation Act (SMCRA) that meet the first two objectives set out in SMCRA, Priorities 1 and 2, have been systematically inventoried. The categories of problems in the Inventory and their share of unfunded reclamation costs in the Inventory are shown in the following table.
FY2016* Categories of Problems in the Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System (e-AMLIS) and Associated Unfunded Reclamation Costs
|When Mining Occurred||Funding Category||Priority||Percentage of Unfunded Reclamation Costs in e-AMLIS|
|Pre-SMCRA||Coal||Priority 1 and 2||71.49%|
|Pre-SMCRA||Non-Coal||Priority 1 and 2||1.66%|
|Post-SMCRA||Interim & Surety**||Priority 1 and 2||0.11%|
|Post-SMCRA||Interim & Surety**||Priority 3||0.04%|
|Post-SMCRA||Interim & Surety**||Sub-Total||0.15%|
The Percentage of Unfunded Reclamation Costs in e-AMLIS Total is 100%. Source: eAMLIS (May 1, 2017)
* Data includes figures from Fiscal Year 2016 (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016).
** Coal Insolvent Surety Funding: Program Area used to record Priority 1 and 2 coal Problem Type features and accomplishments where mining occurred between August 3, 1977 and November 5, 1990, and the surety of the mining operator became insolvent during such period.
** Coal Interim Site Funding: Program Area used to record Priority 1 and 2 coal Problem Type features and accomplishments where mining occurred between August 3, 1977, and the date of the approval of the permanent regulatory program of the State or Tribe in which the site is located.
Q: Does the AML Inventory contain information on mine(s) or company(ies) responsible for the damage?
A: No. Under SMCRA sites are eligible for reclamation funding if there is no party with a continuing reclamation responsibility under State or Federal law.
Q: What are the three funding status categories used in the inventory?
A: Unfunded, Funded, and Completed.
Q: Are new problems being added to the AML Inventory?
Q: Why are new problems being added?
A: The two main reasons are:
- A pre-existing problem that did not meet the priorities now meets them because of a change in circumstances. For example, an existing highwall not in the AML Inventory is added when, after heavy rains, it becomes unstable and threatens a house near its base.
- A new problem arises. For example, an old underground coal mine begins to subside threatening a road and nearby houses. A subsidence problem would be added to the AML Inventory.
Q: Who can file an EEO complaint?
A: Employees, former employees, applicants for employment and contractors (on a case by case basis).
Q: How do I file an EEO complaint?
A: If you believe you have been discriminated against on the bases of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, genetics, status as a parent, sexual orientation or reprisal, you must contact an EEO Counselor to start the initial informal complaint process. You have 45 calendar days from the date of the alleged discriminatory act (or personnel action) to contact the EEO Counselor.
Q: Does OSMRE have an Alternative Dispute Resolution Program?
A: Yes. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an inclusive term used to describe a variety of joint problem-solving techniques that present options in lieu of adjudication or adversarial methods for resolving disputes. Mediation and facilitation are two examples of ADR.
Q: Who is a person with a qualified disability?
A: As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, an individual with, who has a record of, or is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity (function).
Q: What is Management Directive (MD) 715?
A: MD 715 is an annual report required by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which provides policy guidance and standards for establishing and maintaining effective programs of equal employment opportunity under Section 717 of Title VII and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. The MD 715 seeks for all Federal agencies to create and maintain a model EEO program, which includes demonstrated commitment from agency leadership; integration of EEO into the Agency's strategic mission; management and program accountability; proactive prevention of unlawful discrimination; efficiency; and responsiveness and legal compliance.
Q: What is Public Civil Rights?
A: Prohibition against discrimination in programs, services and activities receiving Federal financial assistance.
I would like to acquire mine mapping information. How do I order a copy of mine maps on record at the National Mine Map Repository (NMMR)?
I work with a State regulatory agency. Who can I contact for technical assistance with TIPS software?
Please visit our TIPS website at https://www.tips.osmre.gov/. Contact information including a TIPS Helpline and an email is available.