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Mr. CHRISTENSEN. Yes, sir. Both the State and OSM are hiring. "hey just received the money in the last three or four weeks, and hey are actively recruiting. Mr. YATES. Have you got a work plan?
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. Yes. There's a work plan that shows how nany people we need to do the job, exactly who we need to hire ind what they'll be doing.
If it would be helpful, Mr. Chairman, I have an update on where ve stand and how much money we're going to spend, if it would be helpful.
Mr. YATES. Okay. That may go into the record. [The information follows:]
STATUS OF PROGRESS
March 7, 1988
DSMRE her screened 75 appalcao:s and are in the process of scheduling ceployacot laterviews to comply with the hiring schedule.
The Office of General Counsel now has on board 12 attorneys and I per legal. One legal secretary 11 to start work March 10. Interviewdog i. belas cont laved to find other qualified personnne!.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. This is the letter we wrote to you that gives some more information about the status of the cooperative agreement. I'd like to submit it for the record, too.
Mr. YATES. Sure.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. Basically, I suggest that we and the State personnel brief the staff of this Committee and other committees on a quarterly basis, if not more often. We would discuss exactly what we're doing, what is happening, the kind of progress we're making, and if we foresee any problems.
(The information follows:)
United States Department of the Interior
OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING
Reclamation and Enforcement
MAR 1 6 1988
Honorable Sidney R. Yates
Dear Mr. Yates:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the status of activities regarding the Kentucky Settlement Agreement as directed by language contained in the Fiscal Year 1988 Continuing Resolution. The language requires the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to report on progress made toward reaching the goals of the agreement. I am pleased to inform the Committee that OSMRE and the Commonwealth of Kentucky signed a Cooperative Agreement on February 23. The Cooperative Agreement identifies funding levels, timetables and program requirements necessary to meet the terms of the settlement agreement. I am confident that positive progress will continue to be made. A requirement of the agreement is that Kentucky will submit quarterly progress reports to OSMRE within 30 days after the end of each quarter. The first report is for the period ending March 31, 1988 and is due by April 29. To keep the Committee abreast of on-going activities, I will submit to the Committee a copy of the quarterly reports received from the State as they become available.
I am pleased to report that the Kentucky Department for Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (DSMRE) has screened 75 potential applicants and are continuing to schedule employment interviews to meet the hiring schedule. As of March 7, 1988, 13 individuals have been hired. The DSMRE has also ordered most of the approved equipment. An identical letter is being sent to the Honorable Robert C. Byrd, Chairman, Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate.
TIPS STEERING COMMITTEE AND FUNDING
Mr. YATES. What function will the TIPS steering group have in Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989?
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. Let me ask Mr. Boldt to respond to that.
Mr. BOLDt. The TIPS steering committee is a group of State and Federal representatives who primarily review the technical specifications of the system to make sure that it has the kind of software that will adequately meet State and Federal needs. They meet quarterly to review the progress of the system, system specifications and also make sure that the milestones for the development of the system are being met.
Mr. YATES. What amount of funding do you need to support your effort?
Mr. Boldt. For Fiscal Year 1989?
Mr. YATES. Is the installation of the supercomputer in the western field office completed?
Mr. BOLDT. Yes. We're in the process right now, with this year's money, of acquiring the work stations for the States and for our! selves and also some of the software packages.
Mr. YATES. What is the additional funding you'll need to complete development and maintain TIPS?
Mr. BOLDt. That's for operational costs. Once the system becomes operational, the State will be tied into the minicomputer in Denver. The money in there is to pay for the cost of the communications network, the cost of operating the computer and also the cost of more software packages and their installation.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. For technical research?
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. We've been going through quite an effort to determine how we want to spend our research money, which is a limited amount. We have a committee that complies and evaluates the needs as far as we and the States are concerned. That committee is just getting ready to meet and will make their report to the OSM Directorate shortly.
VALID EXISTING RIGHTS Mr. Yates. What are you currently doing with respect to remining operations on previously mined areas?
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. With regard to abandoned mine lands prior to the Act?
Mr. Yates. Your budget justification talks about potential remining locations that include lands cited in section 522(e)(5) where mining activities are prohibited within specified distances of dwellings, public buildings, schools, churches, public parks, and cemet: ies.