How to Report a Problem with Coal Mining

In 1977, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) set forth the laws that regulate coal mining and reclamation. They also established the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) that is charged with carrying out the implementation and enforcement, nationwide. As one of the forerunners of cooperative federalism, they encourage states to implement their own laws and regulations that are as effective as the federal laws and regulations to allow for differences for geographic region. 

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

Your concern should be directed to the Land Reclamation Program. You have a right to report a coal mining site you believe is operating contrary to the law. For additional information or assistance please call 573-751-4041 or send a letter to the address below. By regulation, Land Reclamation Program staff may only formally investigate complaints when they are submitted in writing in the form a signed letter. If you do not want your information shared with the company, your identity will remain confidential and the complaint will be filed as anonymous. If you choose to remain anonymous please state so in your letter.

Land Reclamation Program
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 176, 1101 Riverside Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65102

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

Your concern should be directed to the Land Reclamation Program. Today, coal operators are required to reclaim their sites when mining is completed. This was not always the case. Prior to passage of SMCRA, many mines were abandoned, leaving behind thousands of acres of scarred and useless land that 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 mined land that was abandoned prior Aug. 3, 1977. Program staff also administers the AML Emergency Program and can respond within 24 hours when abandoned coal mine problems that suddenly occur 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 that OSM conduct an inspection.OSM will ask you to write a letter providing the details about the problem, as well as your name, address, and telephone number and the name of the coal company and permit number, if you know that information. You may advise OSM if you want to remain anonymous, and they will not provide your name to the company. Also, you may ask to accompany OSM when they inspection the site. When you report a problem to OSM that is not an immediate danger, it will be sent to the LRP because LRP is the primary enforcer of the coal mining laws in Missouri. The state will then have 10 days to check into the matter and inform OSM of their findings. OSM will read the report, and determine whether the LRP has taken care of the problem. OSM will send you a letter advising you about what has been done and what actions you may take if you do not agree with what was decided .Jeff Gillespie is the contact person at OSM. Problems with abandoned coal mines also may be reported to OSM. These problems will be referred immediately to the LRP.

Office of Surface Mining
501 Belle Street
Alton, IL  62002