Indian Lands Program
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.
Activities for the Indian Lands program are carried out by the Albuquerque Area Office, Farmington Area Office, Casper Area Office, and the Program Support Division in Denver, Colorado.
Indian Tribes with current or potential coal mining activities on their lands include the Crow Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Southern Ute Tribe, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Other Federal agencies involved with coal mining on Indian lands include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers.
OSMRE, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management also have a Memorandum of Understanding for Managing Coal Mining on Indian Lands.