"If approximate original contour is required for the permit, less excess spoil will be required," the report says. "Less excess spoil disposal will result in smaller valley fills and the resultant decrease in impacts to streams."
The report said that OSM is considering a process for determining whether a reclamation plan complies with the AOC standards. This process, the report said, will also establish which portion of the overburden, or spoil, removed during surface mining is truly excess and in need of valley fill disposal.
OSM has agreed with the state Division of Environmental Protection on a pilot program for review of permit applications to assess AOC attainment and "establish necessary excess spoil volumes for each proposed mining operation."
The pilot program is also being discussed for possible implementation in Kentucky and Virginia, the OSM report said.
The report was required by the House of Representatives' Committee on Appropriations fiscal year 1999 budget bill for OSM.
The report was dated Feb. 23, but was distributed to members of Congress on Monday. It consisted of a 25-page narrative and a thick set of appendices and other documents.