Seth Button, Archaeologist and Project Manager, Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program

Seth Button, archaeologist and project manager for the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program (AMRP), received the 2020 Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining Employee Achievement Award.

He was nominated by his peers for his service to the Division and the State of Utah. Seth is a wonderful resource for the Division and helps not only the AMRP, but other Division programs needing assistance with cultural preservation and coordination. He is very knowledgeable about  Utah and often helps improve the quality of the cultural reports staff receive from operators when there are inconsistencies or questions.  He also works great in a team environment where he often provides valuable feedback to state and federal agencies and stakeholders.

Seth has been with the Division for a year and a half. As a project manager, he is responsible for leading projects from the identification of abandoned mines through compliance with state and federal regulations to construction/reclamation. As an archaeologist, he helps ensure that all program projects comply with applicable state and federal laws governing the treatment of cultural resources.  

Seth is a great employee and representative of the Division. Congratulations Seth! 

Annual Employee Achievement Award – 2017

Coal Program Hydrologist Keenan Storrar received the 2017 Oil, Gas and Mining Achievement Award. In his two years plus with the Division, Keenan has developed into an exemplary employee. He has steadily expanded his knowledge and expertise in not only the Surface Mining Control Reclamation Act (SMCRA) and its application to the Division, but also the processes and rules of other state and federal regulatory agencies with whom he interacts.

Keenan routinely initiates projects on his own with minimal oversight. For example, Keenan has initiated a joint project with OSM and PacifiCorp to utilize LIDAR technology in evaluating the effectiveness of reclamation technique called ‘pocking’ or sometimes referred to as ‘deep gouging.’ It is a reclamation technique that is primarily utilized in the arid southwest and has been successfully implemented at several coal mine reclamation sites.

However, little to any scientific work has been done nationwide to quantify and examine the effectiveness of this technique. Keenan is working towards obtaining precise sedimentation data by utilizing LIDAR technology in concert with OSM and PacifiCorp at the Cottonwood/Wilberg Mine in Emery County. The reclamation of the mine began this month. In obtaining this data, Keenan is at the forefront of advancing the understanding and application of pocking as a reclamation technique and its effectiveness to control erosion on steep, reclaimed slopes in arid, semi-arid environments. Its work that the Division will take immense pride in in the years to come as this reclamation technique can be utilized in all manner of slope stabilization applications from hard rock mining, to highway projects to general construction, etc.

Keenan is a genuine asset to the Division. His rapport with his colleagues, co-workers and coal operators is genuine and one of mutual respect. Keenan is well-deserving of the award as he continues to go above and beyond on a daily basis.

Annual Employee Achievement Award – 2016

Engineering Technician Penny Berry received the annual Oil, Gas and Mining Achievement Award. Penny works for the minerals program and manages the bonding for all mineral mines across the state.

Photo: Director John Baza presents Penny Berry with the 2016 Oil, Gas and Mining Achievement Award.

The bond program requires working with multiple entities including banks and sister agencies. Penny has worked diligently over the past year to organize the cash bond program in a way that complies with Division rules, meets the criteria of other agencies, and allows operators to understand the requirements.

She also meticulously worked on updating all reclamation contracts regarding Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. The BLM made changes to the reclamation contract forms which required Penny to work tirelessly with operators to obtain new signed contracts.

Penny is an integral part of the minerals program team and very deserving of this award.