The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is the primary regulator of coal mining under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) until a state or Indian tribe demonstrates that it has developed a regulatory program that meets all of the requirements in the SMCRA and implementing regulations issued by OSMRE (30 CFR Chapter VII). When a state or Indian tribe submits and receives approval of its proposed regulatory program from OSMRE, it becomes the primary regulator within that state or on reservation lands, respectively, and assumes responsibility over permitting, inspection, and enforcement activities. OSMRE then provides oversight of the state’s or tribe’s implementation of the regulatory program.
The fundamental purpose of oversight is to ensure that states and tribes are effectively implementing, administering, maintaining, and enforcing approved state and tribal programs.
OSMRE’s Directive REG-8, Oversight of State Regulatory Programs, defines "oversight," in the context of procedures for conducting oversight, as the "process of evaluating and assisting states [and tribes] in the administration, implementation and maintenance of approved regulatory programs." The Directive states that—
OSMRE’s oversight role will not involve any duplication of the State’s program implementation responsibilities. Oversight will not be process-driven. Instead, OSMRE oversight will focus on the on-the-ground/end-result success of the State program in achieving the purposes of the Act. Also, it will focus on identifying the need for and providing financial, technical, and other program assistance to States to strengthen their programs.
In other words, oversight includes inspections and other evaluations of how well state programs are ensuring environmental protection, reclamation success, and prevention of off-site impacts. It also includes providing training to state employees to help them do their jobs better and technical assistance, such as information technology and software, to improve both state capability and efficiency in processing permit applications and evaluating reclamation.
Learn more about OSMRE's National Oversight Program.
What is ODocs?
ODocs is OSMRE’s database that contains the oversight documents generated by the agency in accordance with REG-8. You can utilize ODocs' built-in search to view documents covering the various aspects of OSMRE's oversight. These documents include, but are not limited to, Annual Reports, Annual Performance Agreements, and Topic-specific reports.
Public Participation and Outreach - Get Involved!
We encourage public participation in the Oversight Process. If you are interested in participating in this process, or in reading more on activities within a specific state, please select it from the list below.
Oversight within the Appalachian Region
The Appalachian Region oversees oversight inspections within the following states:
Kentucky Maryland Ohio Pennsylvania Virginia West Virginia