Tell President Biden: Appoint an OSMRE Director

President Biden

Aerial view of a massive crane and other heavy equipment at a mountain top removal site in West Virginia
Photo by Kent Mason

As the coal industry declines across the country, companies are leaving behind thousands of acres of unreclaimed mines, threatening the health and safety of people, the environment, and the economy in nearby communities.

Oversight from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is critically needed to ensure that every mine site is fully reclaimed and that coal companies are held responsible for the damage they cause in communities. But 15 months into his presidency, Biden has yet to appoint a director for this crucial office.

Sign our petition - tell President Biden to appoint an OSMRE Director now!

To: President Biden
From: [Your Name]

Dear President Biden,

We, the undersigned community members impacted by coal mining and their allies, request that you prioritize and expedite the appointment of a permanent director for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). As the coal mining industry declines, coal operators are increasingly abandoning unreclaimed mine sites, leaving coalfield communities to contend with polluted streams, damaged aquifers, and heightened risks of landslides and flooding. We need a permanent director of OSMRE capable of leading the agency through these unprecedented challenges while ensuring that every coal mine be fully reclaimed.

Furthermore, Congress made a transformative investment in coal-impacted communities by appropriating $11.3 billion to the Abandoned Mine Land Fund, increasing by as much as ten-fold the amount of money states receive for AML reclamation. OSMRE needs a permanent director to ensure this investment is used efficiently and effectively by the agency, states, and tribes.

When you took office more than a year ago, you made a commitment to help coal-impacted communities transition to a clean energy economy, establishing a new interagency working group to support coal-impacted communities, and prioritizing funding for coal community and mine land revitalization. The goals you set out for environmental justice and an equitable transition in coal mining communities cannot be met without strong leadership at the agency responsible for ensuring the environmental health and safety of those communities.

Please act quickly to appoint a strong leader as director of OSMRE.