In an evaluation conducted by the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) the Public Service Commission’s Coal Regulatory Program and their Abandoned Mine Lands Program both received high praise.  OSM said the PSC “has effective and efficient coal regulatory and AML programs.”

According to Commission Chairman Randy Christmann, who holds the portfolios for these programs, “The complimentary language in these reviews emphasizes the outstanding work our AML and Reclamation teams do throughout the year.  Their efforts are assuring that North Dakota’s landscape will be safe, productive, and beautiful for future generations.”

The AML Program works to eliminate hazards from coal mine activity which occurred prior to 1977 reclamation laws.  PSC staff design and manage the projects which are completed by contractors.  Since 1982, 164 primary projects have been completed, in addition to 32 emergency projects.  The OSM evaluation found that the PSC “administers an excellent program in full compliance with their approved plan … The NDPSC continues to administer an efficient and successful AML Program.  These projects have reduced the likelihood of death or injury to property owners and the public.”

The Reclamation Program oversees six surface mining operations.  Over 132,000 acres are currently permitted for mining.  Of that total, over 81,000 acres have been disturbed and over 56,000 acres have been backfilled, top-soiled, and seeded.  The OSM evaluation found that “The NDPSC staff continue to implement the program in a professional, cooperative, and fair manner.  The division uses new technology to become more efficient and make information more readily available to the public.”