“The head of the Interior Department’s coal mining bureau has a new title.
Lanny Erdos, who has been leading the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) for 10 months, was previously the agency’s acting director. Watchdog groups noted in an E&E News article last week that acting directors in positions requiring Senate confirmation may only serve in that capacity for up to seven months under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) (Greenwire, Aug. 6). But “Lanny E. Erdos, Acting Director” signed a controversial policy directive in June curtailing OSMRE’s oversight of state regulatory programs that determine when coal operators achieve mine reclamation. Now, OSMRE has issued a correction to that directive, saying Erdos did not qualify to use the “acting director” title due to conditions in the FVRA.
“As none of those ways apply to Mr. Erdos, he is not Acting Director but rather had exercised properly delegated authority when he signed the directive,” the correction says. Peter Jenkins, senior counsel for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said OSMRE’s recognition that Erdos used the wrong title does not “retroactively fix the mess that he created by doing so.””