How to Report a Problem with Coal Mining

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) controls the way mining and reclamation are done in this country.  As part of this law, the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) was founded to oversee coal mining throughout the country.  Because mining and reclamation are not done the same way in every state, the law allows each State to take charge of mining matters in their state.

Reporting a Problem to the State - Active Coal Mining
(Mining took place after Aug. 3, 1977)

Your complaint should be directed to LRP. You have a right to report a coal mining site you think is operating contrary to the law. When you write or call, explain what you think is wrong as clearly as you can. Giving details will help LRP decide the best way to handle your problem. You will be asked to send in a letter, if you reported your problem by telephone. You can tell LRP you do not want the company to know when they check the problem.

Land Reclamation Program
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 176, 1738 East Elm Street
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Reporting a Problem to the State - Abandoned Coal Mining
(Mining took place before Aug. 3, 1977)

Your compliant should be directed to LRP.  Today, coal operators are required to reclaim their sites when mining is completed.  But is was not always so.  Prior to passage of SMCRA many mines were abandoned, leaving behind thousands of acres of scarred and useless land which have public safety hazards and environmental problems.  Examples of these problems are dangerous highwalls, open portals and air shafts, and burning mine refuse (gob).  SMCRA established a reclamation fund to finance restoration of land that had been mines and abandoned prior Aug. 3, 1977. LRP also administrators the AML Emergency Program which can respond within 24 hours to abandoned coal mine problems that occur suddenly and may be life-threatening.

Reporting a Problem to the Office of Surface Mining

You may write or call OSM to report a problem with an active coal mine and request an inspection of OSM.  OSM will ask you to write a letter giving the details of the problem, as well as your name, address, and telephone number an the name of the coal company and permit number, if you know it.  You can tell OSM if you do not want the company to know you made the report, and they will not give out your name.  Also, you may ask to go with OSM when check the problem.  When you report a problem to OSM that is not severe danger, it will be sent to the LRP because they are the primary enforcer of the coal mining laws in Missouri.  The state will then have 10 days to check on the matter and inform OSM what they have found.  OSM will read the report, and will see if the LRP has taken care of the problem.  OSM will send you a letter telling what has been done and what actions you can take if you do not agree with what was decided.  Jeff Gillespie is the contact person.  Problems with abandoned coal mines can also be reported to OSM.  These problems will be referred immediately to the LRP.

Office of Surface Mining
501 Belle Street
Alton, IL  62002
(618) 463-6460