WASHINGTON – The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and the Bureau of Land Management will hold a series of meetings around the country soliciting input on the proposed
consolidation of OSM within BLM.
The outreach is part of an effort
directed by Secretary of the Interior
Ken Salazar to gather input on the
proposal to combine both bureaus
and “continue Interior’s efforts to
improve government.”
The Secretary’s plan is to not move
forward without full coordination
and input of employees, members
of Congress, states, tribes, indus –
try, representatives of communities
affected by coal production and
other interested parties.
These nine meetings will include
discussions on how best to maintain
OSM’s status as an independent
bureau with regulatory responsibilities
under the Surface Mining
Control and Reclamation Act,
while exploring ways to integrate
some administrative functions of both entities.
A meeting will be held in Billings
on Jan. 23 at the BLM Montana
State Office from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
The Directors of OSM and BLM
and other Interior officials are to
report by Feb. 15 on the consultations.
Public comments will also be
accepted at doi.gov/bureaus/blmosm/
consolidation.cfm
.
The mission of the Office of
Surface Mining Reclamation and
Enforcement is to ensure that coal
mining activities are conducted in a
manner that doesn’t harm citizens
or the environment, land is restored
to beneficial use after mining, and
mitigates the effects of past mining
by reclaiming abandoned coal mines.
The BLM manages more than 245
million acres in 12 western states—
more than any other federal agency.
With a budget of about $1 billion,
the BLM also administers 700 million
acres of sub-surface mineral estate
throughout the nation. The BLM’s
multiple-use mission is to sustain
the health and productivity of public
lands for the use and enjoyment of
present and future generations.