Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has initiated a process to merge the Bureau of Land Management and the Office of Surface Mining by March 2012. Public Lands News reports that "Under the reorganization BLM and OSM would combine four functions: (1) regulation, inspection and enforcement, (2) OSM’s Abandoned Mine Lands program and BLM’s surface management programs, (3) administrative support functions, and (4) fee collections." [right, BLM lands. Credit, National Map]
BLM historically has managed public lands in the western states, while OSM focused on Eastern coal mining and reclamation on private lands. BLM says they administer 12.2 million surface acres of public lands in Arizona, along with another 17.5 million subsurface acres within the state.
The news story says the merger is going forward without asking for Congressional approval.