“As President Trump nears the end of his first term, the federal agency tasked with protecting the environment from the impacts of coal mining still does not have a confirmed director.
The Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement oversees state coal mine regulators and is responsible for a multibillion-dollar program to clean up abandoned mine lands.
Not since the Obama administration has OSMRE had a director confirmed by the Senate. But it does have an acting director. Or a principal deputy director, exercising the authority of the director. One of those. Or both. It depends on whom you ask.
Whatever his title may be, Lanny Erdos, former chief of Ohio’s coal regulatory program, has been leading OSMRE since last September.
When E&E News approached OSMRE with questions about Erdos’ role on July 30, the agency’s website listed him as “acting director” in its employee directory and in his biography.
“It’s strange Erdos is using the word ‘acting,'” said Peter Jenkins, senior counsel for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “The reason it’s strange is because it makes it look more illegal, more like a violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.””