Committee Reviews Nominee for Office of Surface Mining

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to consider the nomination of Mr. Lanny Erdos to be Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) at the Department of the Interior.

Murkowski opened the hearing by noting that while OSM plays an important role in approving and monitoring projects and reclamation, federal law clearly points to states as the lead regulator of coal mines.

“In my home state of Alaska, the Coal Regulatory Program has regulated mining since 1983—and together with the Usibelli Coal Mine, our only coal operator—has demonstrated that safe and responsible operation can be assured with minimal permitting delays,” Murkowski said. “We have also seen the State of Alaska make good progress reducing its inventory of Abandoned Mine Land projects through the efficient use of federal AML dollars.”

Murkowski expressed her support for Erdos, who is currently the Acting Director of OSM, pointing to his decades of experience as a state regulator in Ohio.

“Mr. Erdos has a good reputation. He has consistently promoted solutions that make sense for all sides and I believe he will lead OSM in a pragmatic, effective manner,” Murkowski said.

During the hearing, Murkowski outlined the unique aspects of Alaska’s resource development framework. She asked Erdos to work with her to ensure that any regulatory changes made at OSM do not harm Alaskan entities.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video of today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s website. Click here to view Murkowski’s questions for Erdos.

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