The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) recently announced changes to its Ten-Day Notice (TDN) rule that will make it easier for the public to report mining concerns.

The Ten-Day process is initiated when OSM receives information about a possible violation of the Surface Mining Control Reclamation and Act (SMCRA). OSM evaluates the available information and, if it determines there is a reason to believe a violation exists, it gives notice to the state regulatory authority. The state regulatory authority has 10 days to respond to OSM with its findings. OSM has delegated the administration of SMCRA to state regulatory authorities in 24 states.

OSM said it re-examined the 2020 TDN rule and decided to amend its regulations. The new rule was published in the Federal Register on April 9 and took effect 30 days afterward. OSM removed language that requires a citizen to first contact a state regulatory authority before it contacts OSM. The agency added language stating that all citizen complaints be considered requests for federal inspections. It dropped the requirement that a citizen must state the basis for their allegation of a possible violation.

The new rule will allow OSM to issue a single TDN for similar possible violations found on two or more permits. It will require OSM to issue a TDN for any possible violation after forming a reason to believe a SMRCA violation exists. It will also require a state regulatory authority to respond to the TDN with actions to fix the violation, instead of submitting a plan to fix the violation.

To read the final rule, visit www.osmre.gov/laws-and-regulations/federal-register-notices.

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