Department of Mines

Oklahoma News
7:29 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

House Committee Looks Into Transparency Of Mining Permitting Process

Credit Nils Dougan / Flickr.com

Members of the House Utility and Environmental Regulation Committee looked into the permitting process for non-coal mining in Oklahoma after attempting legislation last session to change and balance the process.

Lawmakers heard from the Department of Mines on the current application and appeals process before hearing from citizens, who express their concerns with the department’s informal conference process.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:41 am
Wed March 12, 2014

State Senate Easily Passes Bill That Could Make Mining Permits Harder To Get

U.S. Silica's sand processing plant north of Mill Creek, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Some landowners frustrated by the expansion of mining in south-central Oklahoma — particularly in the sensitive Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer — hope a slight change to the state’s mining law will make a major difference in the public’s ability to go up against large sand and limestone mining companies.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:27 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Lawmakers Join Landowners Who Think Getting A Mining Permit Is Too Easy

Johnston County Landowner Clyde Runyon just outside a limestone mining operation near Mill Creek, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Limestone and sand miners are getting a lot of attention lately. The amount of groundwater they can displace from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer was recently capped, and the state House could authorize a new tax on the industry.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:28 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Bill To Change Permit Process For Mines In Sensitive Aquifer Clears Senate Committee

A gate into a silica sand mining operation near Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

When Oklahomans apply for a permit from most state agencies to, say, dam a river or build a wind farm, formal public hearings are held before the permit is issued, where evidence is presented, concerns are voiced, and legally binding decisions are made.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:48 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Resistance To Coal Mine Regulations Could Cost Oklahoma Some Of Its Sovereignty

Leflore County resident Alan Brady says the large berm in the background blocks the view of the mountains he had before mining started.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma and the federal government aren’t getting along.

From health insurance exchanges to power plant emissions, the Obama Administration just can’t seem to get Oklahoma to play ball.

And there’s a lesser-known fight that’s starting to get more attention — over coal mining. More specifically, how land is treated after it’s mined.

There’s a hearing underway in Poteau this week, where attorneys for Farrell-Cooper Mining Company are appealing federal violations at three of its former mines.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Damaged Land Could Once Again Cost Oklahoma Mining Regulator Its Federal Funding

A gate into a silica sand mining operation near Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Coal mining can cause a lot of damage to the landscape, and the federal government has rules about how mining companies are supposed to treat the land after they’re done with it.

Basically, they’re supposed to return it to approximately what it was like before.

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is charged with making sure the Oklahoma Department of Mines is enforcing that rule. If the Oklahoma mining regulator doesn’t, the feds can step in and take over that role.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:04 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Longhorn Mountain: Sacred Kiowa Spiritual Site And Future Limestone Mine

Kiowa historian Phil "Joe Fish" DuPoint and Kiowa museum director Amie Tah-Bone stand at the base of Longhorn Mountain, near Coopertown, Okla. DuPoint and Tah-Bone say a new limestone mine will desecrate the mountain, which the tribe considers a sacred site and source of ceremonial cedar.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Limestone mining on Longhorn Mountain, northwest of Lawton, could start anytime. The company that leases the land on the western side has a permit to mine, and just needs to put up some bond money with the state Department of Mines to get started.

This is a surprise to the Kiowa Tribe, which has used Longhorn Mountain for hundreds of years as a temple where tribe members pray, have vision quests and retrieve sacred cedar used in many rituals.

But the mining shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cushing, Okla.-based Material Service Corporation — and President Larry Stewart — has had a permit for a 370-acre mine on the site for almost 10 years. It’s up to the company to decide when and whether to go forward with the project.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:31 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Oklahoma’s Kiowa Tribe Says Gravel Mining Will Ruin Sacred Mountain

The Kiowa Tribe is worried about the impact of gravel mining on Longhorn Mountain, near the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve in southwestern Oklahoma.
Credit jaxx2kde / Flickr Creative Commons

For almost 150 years, the Kiowa Tribe has used Longhorn Mountain for ceremonies and to gather the cedar used to purify their homes. But tribal leaders say the sacred site is being threatened by gravel mining.

Two of the mountain’s five private landowners have leased water and property rights to Cushing-based Material Service of Oklahoma, Inc. Kristi Eaton reports with the Associated Press reports:

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8:39 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Is Coal Mining Making a Comeback in Eastern Oklahoma?

Lead in text: 
Coal mining plays a key role in the history of eastern Oklahoma. Without immigrant miners flooding into the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some towns might not even exist.
When coal mining began to die off, so did many of the towns founded around it. Oklahoma’s coal is just too high in sulfur to be of much use in the U.S. Burning it in large quantities is against federal clean air regulations.