Alton Field Division
Coal underlies 60-70 percent of Illinois' 37,000 square miles and is part of a geologic structure known as the Illinois Basin. This basin extends into western Kentucky and southwestern Indiana. Most of the coal in Illinois is bituminous with high-energy values. The seams are four to eight feet thick and usually found between 200 and 900 feet below ground in Pennsylvanian age bedrock. This resource has yielded several billion tons of coal since the first recorded mining in 1810. The recoverable coal reserve remaining in Illinois is estimated to be about 38 billion tons. This reserve accounts for almost one-eighth of the total U.S. coal reserves and one-quarter of the nation's bituminous coal reserves.
Illinois has historically been one of the larger coal producing states in the nation. Industrial-scale coal recovery began in the 1890s. Historically, the vast majority of Illinois' coal production has been from underground mines. Surface coal mining became significant in the 1920s. In 1995, approximately 85 percent of Illinois coal production was from underground mines. By 2000, the figure was 88 percent and dropped to 81 percent by 2007. In recent years, coal production has been between 32 million to 34 million tons per year. This represents the lowest level of production in the last 70 years.
More than 90 percent of Illinois' coal production is purchased by the electric utility industry. Industrial, residential, and commercial users account for the remaining 10 percent. Roughly 75 percent of Illinois coal is sold to out-of-state utilities. Because Illinois coal is relatively high in sulfur, most of the electric utilities burn a combination of local coal and out-of-state, lower sulfur coal to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Mines and Minerals, Land Reclamation Division, administers the coal regulatory program. The program ensures that coal mining operations properly reclaim the active mine sites, thereby assuring the restoration of lands for productive uses. They also ensure the repair of land that becomes damaged as a result of mine subsidence from active underground coal mining. The Division issues all coal mining permits for the State while involving concerned citizens in the permitting process.
Michael L. Woods of the Office of Mines and Minerals has responsibility for SMCRA activities related to active coal mining in the State of Illinois.
Michael L. Woods of the Office of Mines and Minerals has responsibility for SMCRA activities related to abandoned coal mines in the State of Illinois.
Illinois grant reports and related documents are contained in the official grant file maintained at the:
Mid-Continent Regional Office
501 Belle Street, suite 216
Alton, IL 62002
They can be reviewed during normal business hours. Alternatively, these documents can be requested through the Alton Field Division or the Indianapolis Area Office and a copy of the grant file will be made available. The copy may be requested in paper or electronic format.
OUTREACH FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE OVERSIGHT PERFORMANCE AGREEMENT
We are soliciting comments, recommendations or suggestions for topics from citizens, environmental groups, and industry to include in our 2015 Annual or Bi-Annual Performance Agreement. Performance Agreements between OSM and the State and Tribal programs establish how oversight is conducted during each evaluation year(s). The topics should relate to the implementation of the approved Regulatory and Abandoned Mine Land Programs. Please submit your topics or requests for our consideration from March 1-30, 2014 by email or in writing to the contact at the bottom of the page. Thank you for your participation in this important process.
Oversight DocumentsTo view oversight documents see ODOCS, OSM's REG-8 Oversight Database:
|OSM defines "oversight", as the "process of evaluating and assisting states [and tribes] in the administration, implementation, and maintenance of approved programs. In collaboration with each state/tribe, OSM develops a Performance Agreement/Evaluation Plans tailored to the unique conditions of each state/tribe program. Performance Agreements/Evaluation Plans between OSM and the states establish how oversight is conducted during each evaluation year.|
For more information on OSM's oversight process see Oversight of Surface Coal Mining.
For more information please contact:
Chief, Alton Field Division