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 August 3, 1977)

Your concern should be directed to the Land Reclamation Program (LRP). You have a right to report a coal mining site you believe is operating contrary to the law. When you write or call, explain as clearly as possible, what you think is wrong. Providing details will help LRP decide the best way to handle your concern. If you reported by telephone, you will be asked to submit a letter. You may advise LRP that you wish to remain anonymous.

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 August 3, 1977)

Your concern should be directed to LRP.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 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 mined land that had been abandoned prior Aug. 3, 1977. LRP also administers the AML Emergency Program and 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 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
(618) 463-6460