Message from Director John Baza – Summer 2018

Utah’s natural resources of crude oil, natural gas, coal, metals, and other mineral commodities are valuable to the citizens of the state. Either by direct ownership or as a result of the processing and sales of commodities, these products improve the quality of life of Utahns.  

Since the 1950s, the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) has performed its stewardship responsibilities of ensuring that waste is prevented, recovery of underground resources occurs responsibly, and Utah residents receive the greatest possible good from these vital natural resources.

In recent years, technology has advanced, and much of the work of the Division incorporates these advancements. Regulatory processes are now performed via multiple electronic means including computerized databases, mobile devices for site monitoring, geographic information systems, unmanned aerial systems (drones), and live streaming conferences and meetings.  All of these advancements have extended the reach of Division personnel to accomplish more without large increases in staffing or budget, allowing for efficient expenditure of public funding.

To view past or future meetings, visit our YouTube account

2018 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

The Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining announced the recipients’ of the 2018 Environmental Excellence Awards at an open house in Salt Lake. Awards were presented by Utah Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, Board Chair Ruland Gill, Jr., Board members Susan Davis, Rich Boren, Carl Kendell, Mike Brown, and Chris Hansen.

Previously known as Earth Day Awards, Environmental Excellence Awards are presented to companies, organizations or individuals in the oil and gas, minerals and coal mining industries that go beyond what is required by regulation to protect the environment, while responsibly developing Utah’s natural resources 

The following companies received Environmental Excellence Awards for 2018;

Dugout Canyon Mine for their environmental improvements to an active mine site and outstanding results from implementing innovative environmental technology during contemporaneous reclamation on a portion of the waste rock pile.

Skyline Mine for their outstanding results following applications of innovated environmental technology on creation of a ventilation shaft for the Flat Canyon lease.

Sufco Mine for environmental improvement to an active mine site. They provided funds, equipment, and man power to make improvements to facilities at Skutumpah Reservoir and trail improvements along Quitchupah Creek.

Conoco Phillips received an award for their environmental improvements to an active drilling field within the Drunkards Wash field in Carbon County.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation received an award for their spill mitigation efforts in the greater natural buttes area in the Uinta Basin.

Dominion Energy/Questar Pipeline received an award for their storage integrity management program in their Clay Basin, Coalville, and Chalk Creek storage fields.

Rio Tinto Kennecott received an award for their ongoing East Waste Rock/South Waste Rock reclamation project.

For full project descriptions, visit

Coal Program Reclamation Study

The Coal Program worked closely with PacifiCorp and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to approve an innovative reclamation technique called pocking at the Cottonwood/Wilberg Mine in Emery County. Pocking is a relatively new hillslope stabilization technique used as an erosion control measure that consists of deep gouging the final hillslope grade with irregularly oriented depressions of 18 – 24 inches. 

Traditionally one large sedimentation pond is required to remain in place at a reclamation site for at least two-years after regrading and seeding to capture run-off. This pocking method replaces the large pond with multiple smaller catchment basins encouraging water retention and revegetation of the disturbed area. 

PacifiCorp and Division staff convinced OSMRE to allow removal of the pond at Cottonwood/Wilberg and use the pocking method instead. The Division received funds from a Utah State University (USU) grant to monitor mine reclamation success using drones. The Division is funding a USU graduate student for two years to conduct scientific research on the pocking at Cottonwood/Wilberg to provide a quantitative tool to efficiently and economically evaluate the success of land reclamation activities, specifically the effectiveness of pocking as an erosion control measure. 

Employee Highlight – Summer 2018

April Abate is an environmental scientist with the Division’s Minerals Program.  She started with the Division in 2008 working in the coal program then transferred to Minerals in 2013. 

Her job involves implementing state rules, regulating, and inspecting all hard rock mining activity in the state including small and large mines and exploration permits. April is responsible for overseeing all mineral mining operations in Utah and Uintah counties.

Some of the best aspects of her job involve working with mining companies to conduct operations that minimize impacts to the environment. For example, when a mine is located in a sage grouse management area, creative and alternative ideas need to be implemented to protect and reduce impacts to habitat. April works with biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to find options that allow mining operations to continue without effecting habitat.

One of April’s greatest job satisfactions is when she can propose ideas that are  more efficient, streamlined, and minimize ground disturbance. She tells operators to begin with the end reclamation in mind before starting mining. Often the main focus is on production, with reclamation being an afterthought. Enforcing the Mined Land Reclamation Act makes mine reclamation planning forethought, rather than an afterthought.

April also enjoys the people with whom she works. From local ranchers, government officials, operators, or organic chemists, she enjoys conversations with all of them and always takes away a gained perspective from these learning experiences. 

April grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts area and is a Boston sports fan and seafood lover at heart.


Do you have a topic you’d like discussed or feedback for our staff? If so, please email We welcome your comments.

1594 West North Temple, Suite 1210
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114