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submitted by the States at the time of initial program
submission and approved as a part of the overall program
submission by the Secretary. When changes to staffing levels
are warranted, States may submit program amendments. The
attached table indicates the current approved inspection
staffing level for each State. These figures include
inspectors as well as associated supervisory and
administration staff.

Question:

Does OSM expect any requests for program amendments in this area in Fiscal Year 1989?

Answer:

OSMRE has not identified any State that is planning major revisions in the approved program inspector staffing levels during Fiscal Year 1989. Regulation changes currently under consideration at the Federal level, such as the inspection frequency for abandoned sites, if adopted, could have an effect on inspection staffing levels in approved programs and result in an increase in program amendments.

It is anticipated that some State program changes related to these Federal changes will occur in FY 89. The number of amendments processed in FY 89 is expected to increase to between 60 and 70.

State Program Evaluation Process

Question:

How does OSM feel the State evaluation process has improved lo
Fiscal Years 1987 and 1988?

Answer:

Changes have been made to emphasize oversight of State performance on an ongoing basis, to strengthen the State's primacy role and to diminish the perception that there is dual regulation in primacy States. Accordingly, evaluation guidance has been revised to emphasize conducting evaluations on a routine basis.

To the fullest extent possible, evaluation activities are being
tied to OSMRE's inspection findings. In all program areas,
Field Offices have been encouraged to conduct evaluations and
investigations as necessary to address problems as they arise
or become apparent rather than to postpone evaluation
activities or interactions with the State until the end of the
evaluation year. Further, to the maximum extent possible,
Field Offices have been encouraged to provide summary data and
findings to States on a continuous basis to promote discussion
of issues while they are still in the formative stages.
Quarterly meetings between States and Field Offices have been
required in an effort to improve communication.

ance.

In the past, OSMRE's oversight program did not directly relate observed violations to State performan Rather, it attempted to make inferences of State performance as a whole based on comparisons of data from OSMRE inspections of a random sample

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of sites with State inspection data from all sites. However,
partially in response to the recommendations contained in the
GAO report entitled "Interior Department and States Could
Improve Inspection Program" (GAO/RCED 87-40), OSMRE has
modified its oversight inspection approach to measure directly
whether State inspectors are citing all violations of
performance standards and to gather information on the severity
and causes of violations.

For the 1987 evaluation year, OSMRE inspectors were required to
document whether any violations observed on the OSMRE
inspection were present at the time of the last State complete
inspection. The 1988 oversight guidance further refines this
direct approach to evaluating State performance in that, as
revised for 1988, the supplement to the minesite evaluation and
inspection report form requires the inspector to confer with
the State and document the State's reasons for failing to cite
violations. In addition, the revised form captures information
provided by OSMRE inspectors concerning the severity and causes
of observed violations.

Question:

Does OSM expect that there will be changes to this process in
Fiscal Year 1989?

Answer:

We anticipate no significant changes to the State program
evaluation process for 1989. However, we are evaluating
recommendations for fine-tuning the revisions introduced in
1988 and expect to adopt several improvements to address minor
problems encountered during implementation of the 1988 changes.

Question:

If so, what will these changes consist of?

Answer:

No significant changes are anticipated.

Question:

What input have the States given to OSM about these evaluation procedures?

Answer:

In the past, copies of oversight guidance documents were distributed to all State regulatory authorities and agencies administering State abandoned mine land reclamation programs after they had been issued to OSMRE Field Offices. The 1989 Guidance document will be provided to all States for their review prior to issuance. Guidance documents and evaluation procedures are also discussed at length at national meetings of OSMRE and State personnel.

On page 33 of the justification OSM states that with decentralization the field offices assumed complete responsibility for the production of annual evaluation reports and the monitoring of action plans to address State program deficiencies.

Question:

How did OSM disseminate uniform policy guidance so that all evaluations would be comparable?

Answer:

OSMRE issues its oversight policy guidance documents,
including those addressing the development and implementation
of action plans for the resolution of all significant problems,
in the form of directives which are distributed to and on file
within each agency organizational unit. All OSMRE personnel
are required to abide by the policies and procedures set forth
in these directives. In addition, OSMRE has held several
meetings of agency personnel from all organizational levels to
explain these directives and provide clarifying guidance.

Question:

How were the States instructed about what was expected?

Answer:

OSMRE provided States with copies of all oversight guidance documents and discussed them at national meetings. Field Offices also met and corresponded with individual States regarding oversight strategies and expected performance.

Ten Day Notices

Question:

Discuss the resolution of the ten day notices outlined on
pages 38 and 39 in the States of Alabama, Kentucky,
Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Answer:

Ten-Day Notices are issued when the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) has reason to believe that a violation of the approved State Program may exist. They are normally triggered by citizens' complaints or observations of OSMRE personnel during an inspection.

State Ten-Day Notice responses are evaluated on the basis of
whether the State took appropriate action under the approved
State Program necessary to cause the alleged violation to be
corrected or whether the State has shown good cause under its
approved program for not taking such action. In the Ten-Day
Notices outlined on Pages 38 and 39 for the States of Alabama,
Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, OSMRE did not
initiate enforcement action after an evaluation that either
the State took appropriate actions; demonstrated good cause for
no action; or the violations alleged in the Ten-Day Notice did
not exist or were no longer present when the State conducted
its inspection.

Question:

How is OSM assisting these states in reducing the occurrence of ten day notices?

Answer:

To reduce the occurrence of Ten-Day Notices, OSMRE is
encouraging joint SRA/OSMRE inspections in the named States.
By their nature, joint inspections should reduce the number of
Ten-Day Notices because the State Inspector has an opportunity
to discuss on-the-ground issues with the OSMRE Inspector and to
cite all existing violations during the inspection.

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Small Operator Assistance

In Fiscal Year 1989 OSM states that they will be able to make grants to the States for Small Operator Assistance without an appropriation because of carryover funds.

Question:

What amount 18 OSM anticipating will be carried into Fiscal
Year 1989?

Answer:

OSMRE anticipates projected Fiscal Year 1988 carryover to be in
the range of $1.2 million and projects recoveries to be
approximately $1.1 million. These amounts will be sufficient
to fund program demands in Fiscal Year 1989.

Question:

Will there be a balance of funds to carry into Fiscal Year
1990?

Answer:

By Fiscal Year 1990 it may be necessary to request new budget
authority to maintain Small Operator Assistance Payments
(SOAP). OSMRE will closely watch SOAP activities in Fiscal
Year 1988 to identify any shifts in program demands. Fiscal
Year 1990 options for SOAP will be assessed during the initial
1990 budget formulation process.

Assistance to Other Interior Agencies

Discuss activities OSM will undertake in fiscal Years 1988 and
1989 to assist other agencies in the Department of the
Interior.

Question:

Are these activities in the form of cooperative or reimbursable agreements? If so, explain these arrangements.

Answer:

OSMRE entered into recent agreements with other Department of
Interior agencies as follows:

1. Interagency Agreement between OSMRE and the National Park

Service of May 27, 1987, to assist with the reclamation of
abandoned or inadequately reclaimed mine sites within the
boundaries of specified National Park lands. Agreement
provides for up to one million dollars of financial support
from funds available to the Secretary under Section
402(8)(3) of the Surface Mining Act. The agreement also
provides for technical assistance. See attached copy of
Interagency Agreement.

2. Amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between

the Bureau of Mines (BOM) and OSMRE of January 16, 1987, to
assist with the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Research
activities transferred to BOM in FY 1987. MOU provides for
ongoing participation on the interagency coordination
committee. See attached copy of Memorandum of
Understanding.

3.

MOU between OSMRE and the U.S. Geological Survey dated August 10, 1987, to provide for an interagency committee for program coordination. MOU provides for continuous participation. See attached copy of Memorandum of Understanding.

Relocation

Question:

What changes are being proposed in the internal operation of
OSM?

Answer:

No changes other than the personnel replacements necessitated by the departure of the director and one deputy director are proposed.

Question:

Is the article which was published in the Courier-Journal on
February 27, 1988 correct in stating that the new Deputy
Director may soon be the new Director?

Answer:

The new Deputy Director, Robert Gentile, became the acting
Director effective March 20, 1988.

Question:

What proposal is being discussed in respect to relocation of field office directors?

Answer:

No proposal exists to relocate Field Office Directors.
Discussions on relocation concern whether OSMRE should
establish a policy with respect to senior manager (14-15)
mobility and, if so, what that policy should be.

Question:

What analysis has been done of the cost both in dollars and in terms of morale of the staff if this proposal is advanced?

Answer:

No analysis has been done since there is no proposal to
relocate Field Office Directors.

Question:

When will OSM brief the Congress on its proposal, before or after a decision is made?

Answer:

No proposal exists; however, in general OSMRE briefs the
Congress on major decisions in as timely a manner as possible.

Question:

Why would OSM undertake staff relocation so soon after completing its decentralization initiative that relocated so many OSM employees?

Answer:

No staff relocation is contemplated other than that attributable to normal attrition or to changed circumstances, such as when OSMRE had to establish a Federal program in Tennessee. Currently, OSMRE is assuming responsibility for direct enforcement of the Surface Mining Act on two-acre sites in Kentucky which may result in some movement of managers and staff to effectively carryout these new responsibilities.

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