OSMRE remains committed to the use of geospatial technologies to meet current and future SMCRA needs. We have established the GeoCommittee (geospatial committee) to discover, review and promote technology and tools for use in this field. Geospatial data provides us with a “place-based” perspective of environmental and geographic changes to the locations where mining and reclamation is occurring, or has occurred, and the environmental impact to surrounding land masses and communities. Currently, the mining industry generates nearly all of its permitting and performance information in digital format. As OSMRE endeavors to achieve greater efficiencies in a time of reduced budgets, the use of digital data analysis in tandem with physical inspections and oversight becomes more crucial to accomplishing our mission. Additionally, in order for the public to participate and contribute in SMCRA programs, the public has increased its demand for mining and other environmental compliance information's availability over the Internet. We continue to work with the public, mining companies and other interested parties to strike a balance in information sharing.
By implementing geospatial technologies, processes and data analysis OSM and our SMCRA partners will be able to make better decisions and more effectively inform and involve the public in SMCRA-related decisions. A GIS-based analysis capability will allow OSM to more effectively examine national and local coal-mining and environmental implications.
As work continues on this dynamic initiative, check back to see how SMCRA and geospatial technologies are improving surface coal mining regulation.