Program Support Division
Federal Lands Program
The Program Support Division (PSD) is responsible for the Federal lands program. The Federal lands program provides for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations taking place pursuant to any Federal law on any Federal lands. The Federal lands program incorporates all of the requirements of Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) and provides for coordination and, to the extent possible, synchronization of the regulation of coal mining under other Federal laws, including the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the National Forest Management Act. In each State, the Federal lands program incorporates the requirements of the approved State program or the Federal program for the State. The Federal Lands Program is codified as Subchapter D, Federal Lands Program, of OSMRE’s regulations and has three Parts: Part 740, General Requirements for Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Operations on Federal Lands, Part 745, State-Federal Cooperative Agreements, and Part 746, Review and Approval of Mining Plans.
Under OSMRE’s regulations, “Federal Lands" means any land, including mineral interests, owned by the United States, without regard to how the United States acquired ownership of the lands or which agency manages the lands. It does not include Indian lands.
Cooperative Agreements have been established with each state agency to help measure each state’s success in meeting the goals of SMCRA. The state regulatory agencies include: Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety; Montana Department of Environmental Quality; New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division; North Dakota Public Service Commission; Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining; and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Performance agreements can be found in 30 CFR 900 through 950.
Federal Oversight - Abandoned Mine Lands
PSD’s responsibilities in Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) cover federal oversight for Abandoned Mine Lands Programs for the: Navajo Nation Abandoned Mine Land Program and Hopi Tribe Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program.
PSD provides guidance and/or approval for construction projects, National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) documents, Section 7 consultations, advice on categorical exclusions, and grant applications. PSD also writes yearly evaluation reports for each program addressing successes and areas of improvements.
To maintain up-to-date information for on-going projects OSMRE ensures accuracy and completeness of data uploaded into the Abandoned Mine Lands Information System (eAMLIS), an electronic data base. This system provides access for viewing necessary documents and interpreting maps, identifying aerial photos to locate field locations, locating field plots using GPS equipment.
OSMRE is the Regulatory Authority for coal mining operations that occur on Indian lands in the Western United States. As such, OSMRE is responsible for the review and decisions on all applications to conduct mining operations and, if a mining permit is issued, OSMRE is responsible for inspection of the mines to ensure that the public and the environment is protected, and ultimately OSMRE is responsible for ensuring that mining operations are fully reclaimed before the lands are returned to the tribes.
The Indian Lands Program in the Western Region is responsible for administering permitting activities associated with ten mine properties located on the Navajo, Hopi, Crow, and Ute Mountain Ute reservations, in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, and Colorado. Four of these properties currently involve active mining and reclamation operations, while the remaining six no longer are being disturbed and involve only reclamation activities.
OSMRE promulgated a Federal regulatory program for the State of Washington in 1987 when Washington decided not to submit a State program. The Federal program is described in 30 CFR Part 947. The Western Region’s Denver Field Division (DFD) administers the program. There are two permitted surface coal mines in Washington. The John Henry Mine is 25 miles southeast of Seattle and adjacent to the City of Black Diamond. The Centralia Mine is 25 miles southeast of Olympia. Neither mine is actively producing coal. Each mine has significant reclamation to accomplish. Both mines are covered by adequate reclamation bonds.