Washington State Federal Regulatory Program
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 Program Support Division (PSD) and 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.
The PSD and DFD directs a team of regulatory, technical, and inspection and enforcement specialists to administer the program. The team reviews all permit and permit revision applications. Mine inspections and local coordination activities are conducted by two members of the team who are located in Olympia, Washington.
Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCC) has operated the John Henry No. 1 Mine since 1985. The mine consists of 480 permitted acres; 312 acres are disturbed and 21 acres have been reclaimed. From 1986 to 1999, PCC produced about 300,000 tons of bituminous coal annually. Due to poor market conditions for the sale of coal, the mine ceased production in 1999. In 2009, OSMRE ordered PCC to begin reclamation in January 2010. The order was upheld by Interior’s Board of Land Appeals. OSMRE had allowed the pits to remain open and unreclaimed to accommodate PCC’s intent to mine coal in the future.
The Centralia Mine is permitted to TransAlta Centralia Mining Company, LLC, and is operated by the Centralia Mining Company. The permit area consists of about 14,450 acres, and at its peak, produced approximately 6 million tons of sub-bituminous coal annually. The mine ceased coal production in November, 2006. Since that time, TransAlta has been revising its reclamation plans and schedules while actively pursuing reclamation activities. The adjacent power plant remains a major employer in the area, burning coal shipped from the Powder River Basin via rail.
Copies of the approved permit application packages for these two mines are available for public review at WR's Denver, Colorado and Olympia, Washington offices.