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Part One - Agency Administrative Information


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									               Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
                     Information Technology Plan
                          September 10, 2001

Part One - Agency Administrative Information
1. Agency Title (Acronym)


2. Plan Date

      September 10, 2001

3. Approved By

      O. Gene Dishner, Director.

4. Agency Contact

      Stephen A. Walz
      Director of Administration
      Phone: 804-692-3211
      Fax: 804-692-3237
      E-mail: saw@mme.state.va.us
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 2

Part Two - Agency IT Strategic Direction
1. Summary of Current Agency IT Environment


        DMME was created on January 1, 1985 when the Virginia General Assembly
consolidated state agency mineral and energy business programs from three agencies into
one. When first formed, DMME’s operations were hampered by programs that were not
meeting their statutorily mandated requirements, a lack of coordination among customer
services, different employee cultures from the three source agencies, isolated work
locations located from Richmond to Wise County, inadequate equipment and facilities
such as incompatible communication systems, and a lack of automation. The new
department inherited a mixture of a few old PCs and limited access to statewide computer
networks such as PMIS and CARS. Most record keeping and processing were manually

       Shortly after being formed, DMME started using a participatory strategic
planning and management process to develop a unified agency mission, strategic and
operational goals, objectives, strategies, and agency values. The strategic planning
process was also used to help establish managerial accountability for work quality.

         In completing the strategic plan, DMME looked at its internal management needs
and mandates from federal agencies (such as the Office of Surface Mining and
Department of Energy), state law and regulations, and central state agencies (such as the
Departments of Accounts and Planning and Budget). DMME initially focused its efforts
on supporting its mandated inspection and enforcement activities and improving
administrative efficiency and effectiveness. Therefore, its first information technology
priorities were to develop computer-based data systems to support mine licensing,
permitting and inspections, and to develop administrative support systems addressing
budgeting, purchasing, and asset management needs. Extensive customer involvement in
system design and implementation was used to ensure that systems were mission focused,
user-based and integrated into department work procedures. This resulted in the
establishment of an agency-wide mini-computer based system supporting agency word
processing, coal, mineral, and gas and oil regulatory database systems, an integrated
budget/accounts payable/purchasing system, and a department-wide document
management and e-mail system.

        Technology improvements have allowed DMME to shift its computer systems to
a networked client-server environment, its database systems to IBM’s UniVerse database
based system, and its e-mail and office tools to a Microsoft (MS) standard. The
department also changed its network from one based on sending multiplexed data over
leased point-to-point data lines to a unified statewide frame-relay IP network and local
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 3

area networks connected in a wide area network over the Commonwealth
Telecommunication Network backbone. These technology improvements further
allowed the department to develop new laptop PC-based inspection and enforcement
systems to enhance field services.

       Over time, DMME expanded the scope of its regulatory programs to include new
customer compliance assistance and education services. This resulted in DMME
developing new information technology approaches such as electronic permitting of coal
mines, new electronic miner certification and testing programs, and use of digital
mapping and geographic information systems.

        DMME also expanded its educational programs for mineral extraction businesses,
educators, localities, and the general public. This led to development of services such as
electronic maps-on-demand, electronic mine safety training modules and CD-ROMs,
geology educational CD-ROMs, and DMME’s Internet site.

        DMME regularly has had to respond to changing mandates. For example, the
Virginia General Assembly enacted the Mineral Mine Safety Act in 1992 to shift agency
resources away from duplicating mine safety inspections with the federal Mine Safety
and Health Administration to an enhanced training role. The General Assembly directed
DMME to establish these services based on an assessment of the risks present on
individual mine sites. This required DMME to develop a risk assessment methodology
and the information technology system to support the risk assessment. In 1998, the
General Assembly amended the Mineral Mine Safety Act to require independent
contractors working on mine sites to use certified mineral miners, provide safety
inspections in areas they were working, and develop mine safety plans. This added a
large new customer base to the department’s mineral mine safety program. This mandate
change required the department to modify its automated systems to capture the unique
data on independent contractors’ operations. Other chapters in Title 45.1 of the Code of
Virginia that govern DMME programs have been similarly changed, necessitating
changes to the department’s information technology environment.

        DMME adopted an information technology support system to provide information
management tools to its employees located across the state. Computer user
representatives/power users in each main DMME location help central Office of
Management Information Systems (OMIS) staff support both office and field end users.
The Department’s Information Technology Team provides advisory services to
department management and OMIS staff regarding technology issues. Substantial
information technology training has been provided to end users to facilitate their use of
the agency’s information technology tools. The department has used seat management
principles such as following a regular technology refresh schedule for client and server
equipment, operation of an e-mail based help desk for end user support, and
standardization of hardware and software platforms.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
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        Today, DMME’s 240 employees are located principally in four offices across the
state. Almost one-third of the agency’s workforce works in a field setting, with their
vehicles as their primary workstations. This results in a wide geographic dispersal of
agency personnel and constantly challenges the agency to maximize the use of
technology to communicate effectively and share resources. DMME uses technologies
such as inspector remote access to the agency’s information systems via laptop
computers; electronic submittal of permit applications by DMME’s customers; and a
Southwestern Virginia regional radio system to overcome these obstacles. Technologies
such as high quality electronic communications over local and wide area networks,
teleconferencing, and use of tools such as MS Outlook and NetMeeting are critical to
ensure the department operates both effectively and efficiently in serving its customers
across the state.

IT Successes

       DMME has implemented numerous information technology projects that have
contributed to the effective and efficient accomplishment of its core business objectives.
These are important factors in its efforts to reach agency goals and meet the agency’s

        Each of DMME’s regulatory divisions uses a program specific database system to
maintain permitting, licensing, inspection, enforcement, production, and other related
data. These data systems allow the department to track and analyze critical data trends
needed for management decision making. The systems include standard report capability
as well as the ability to program ad-hoc reports from the database. This allows managers
to use quantitative data when assessing issues or responding to outside requests for

        As an adjunct to DMME’s regulatory system databases, the agency developed
laptop inspection and enforcement systems for use by field inspectors. Inspectors
populate data into their laptop computers from the central division database system so
they have operational permit or license data available in the field. The laptop systems
include automated forms for use in the field. New data entered in the field is
automatically replicated into DMME’s central databases to avoid double entry of field
reports. This system also permits dial-up access to upload and download data from the
centralized database systems remotely. This tool has provided the field inspectors with
the information needed to more effectively complete their field functions and provide
enhanced service to the agency’s mineral extraction business customers.

        DMME recognized that managers needed accurate, timely access to budget and
expenditure data to properly manage their work. Additionally, the department recognized
that there should be a direct linkage of automated budget, purchasing, fixed asset, and
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
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other related systems. Neither the centralized state financial systems such as the
Commonwealth Accounting and Reporting System (CARS) nor off-the-shelf systems
provided this functionality. Therefore, the department contracted to have an agency-
specific system developed for its use. This system is still in use and is the backbone of
the agency’s financial management process. The system provides information to
program managers, supervisors, and department management on items ranging from
forecasting budgets; to tracking expenditures and revenues by program, fund, object code
and other factors; to monitoring grants; to tracking telecommunication costs; to accessing
data by vendor; and many others. DMME’s system links to CARS through regular file
transfers. DMME is now working with the Department of General Services to develop
the necessary interfaces to link DMME’s accounts payable-procurement system with the
eVA electronic procurement system.

        DMME’s coal mining customers submit a large amount of text, maps, and data in
their coal mine permit applications. This information must be updated throughout the life
of mining permits as conditions change. In order to bring efficiencies to this system –
helping the mine operators develop their permit applications, and helping DMME review
the applications – DMME has developed an electronic permit system. Operators generate
and submit their initial permit application electronically, attaching digital maps and
database information to their text packages. Using workflow technologies, the
department routes sections of the permits to the appropriate in-house reviewers. The
workflow system compiles the completed reviews and internal approvals to facilitate
coordinated replies back to the permit applicant. Once applications are completed and
issued, mine operators are able to download their permit data and only update the
necessary sections as mining conditions change. This has led to efficiencies both for the
department’s mining customers and for the department’s internal operations.

       DMME has developed a large inventory of digital maps and data on the state’s
geology. This includes items such as geologic maps and data, mineral resource
databases, and digital maps showing the extent of historic coal mining in Southwestern
Virginia. DMME customers use many of these digital maps and databases to enhance
their work. DMME makes most of these maps and data available over the Internet to its

        DMME’s mine safety program provides mine safety training and materials to coal
and mineral mine workers across the state. DMME has developed training applications,
using tools such as MS PowerPoint, to deliver this training. These programs are provided
to the department’s mining company customers as CD-ROMs or by direct electronic
transfer. DMME is now partnering with the Center for Coal and Energy Research at
Virginia Tech to develop virtual reality training technologies for critical mine jobs. This
training will help the mine operators operate their facilities more efficiently and safely.
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September 10, 2001
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       DMME provides a wide range of geologic, energy efficiency, and regulatory
program information to its customers through its Internet site. Consistent with governing
executive orders, DMME is enhancing its site to facilitate direct business between the
agency and customers.

Current IT Focus

       DMME has identified information technology priorities that will enhance the
department’s ability to achieve its strategic and operational objectives.

Update Legacy Systems

        DMME has started a database migration program to move applications and data
from its legacy PICK, multi-value, Universe database to a Microsoft SQL server or
similar relational database. The department is investigating middleware technologies that
will allow applications to manage existing multi-value data as a relational database. This
will allow better integration of existing, separate division databases into a department-
wide data warehouse. This migration also will allow new applications to be developed
using relational database tools, and enable direct customer Internet-based access to
agency information.

       DMME is upgrading its agency-wide desktop and server operating systems
platform to Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server. The agency is
standardizing the desktop and server platforms through this upgrade. This should lead to
enhanced client support and more efficient and effective server management.

       DMME’s regulatory divisions have identified updates needed to make their laptop
enforcement systems better meet field inspector needs. While some division’s systems
have been updated, the department’s information technology staff still must complete the
upgrade of all laptop enforcement applications.

Electronic Permit and Workflow System Development

        DMME has developed an electronic permit application and workflow review
system for coal surface mining and reclamation permits. DMME is evaluating the
implementation of this system to determine how it may be used for the department’s
mineral mining and gas and oil customers and divisions. DMME also is evaluating other
uses of the workflow technology to enhance department operations.

       DMME will need to add electronic signature capability to the electronic permit
application systems when the state-government electronic signature protocol is made
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September 10, 2001
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Digital and Mapping and Metadata Standards

       DMME has developed considerable geologic, mining and related data for use with
mapping and geographic information systems. DMME is investigating methods to
consolidate its digital mapping data and processes into forms more readily available to
department customers and employees. The department is looking at central data storage
options, middleware options, and map browser-client interface options. DMME is
looking at what information technology tools will enhance the department’s knowledge
management capability for handling this information. The department also is developing
metadata guidelines for its spatial data and databases.

       DMME is investigating methods to integrate digital image storage into the
DMME laptop enforcement systems and databases. This will enhance the ability of field
personnel to record field conditions for use in inspection reports, enforcement actions,
and communication with agency management.

Next Generation Internet Services

        DMME is developing new methods to enhance citizen access to DMME
information over the Internet. This may include enhancing access to information on
geology and mineral resource availability through use of an extranet approach. The
department is identifying methods to give customers access to information on persons
certified as mineral and coal mine workers. The department is investigating methods to
increase interactive communication with customers across the Internet. DMME also will
be addressing what is needed to ensure access to the department’s Internet site by persons
with disabilities. The department also is investigating e-commerce options for selling its
geologic publications or allowing customers to complete other business with the
Department over the Internet.

Enhancing Administrative Services

        DMME operates an integrated budgeting, accounting, purchasing, and asset
management system. DMME must work with the Department of General Services to
integrate its system with the statewide eVA electronic commerce system. This will
require developing an electronic interface between the systems. As other new central
state government systems are developed, DMME will need to develop interfaces that
maximize the systems’ value to DMME employees.

         DMME is developing a new database application to support the DMME
University. The DMME University is an umbrella program to provide management and
skills training to all agency employees. The data system will provide program
management and training documentation for the University.
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September 10, 2001
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       Changing technologies and software programs provide new opportunities for
improving department services. DMME continuously investigates the opportunity to
improve its services, including those provided by information technology advances.
DMME is committed to implementing cost effective information technology solutions
where it will enhance the agency’s services.

         As part of this effort, DMME is investigating use of a more formal Information
Technology Investment Management (ITIM) process as an adjunct to the agency’s
strategic planning and management process. DMME has used many ITIM principles in
its past information technology decision-making. However, the department may be able
to improve its decision-making processes through more direct use of ITIM processes.

2. Critical Issues (from agency strategic planning process)

        DMME is faced with five critical, strategic issues that will significantly impact
the department’s available resources, services, and ability to carry out its mission. Each
are discussed below.

Issue DMMELT01: Changes in the mineral extraction and energy industries.

Issue and Overall Impact

         DMME’s mineral extraction customers recently have seen a great amount of
volatility in their marketplaces. They must be able to quickly respond to changing
market conditions and expect DMME to quickly respond to their changing needs. In
response, DMME’s management and operational systems must be nimble and able to
adjust to customer needs. Flexible, customer-based information systems are critical to
providing this nimble customer service.

       Virginia’s coal industry has been experiencing a period of realignment. The
following table shows the number of tons of coal mined per year and number of miners
employed at Virginia coal mines.

                       1990         1995         1996         1997         1998         1999         2000
Tons of coal
                 46,636,708   35,917,208   36,782,065   36,889,166   34,001,911   32,253,994   33,257,080
Number of
                 491          374          331          356          352          361          343
licensed mines
Number of
                 10,601       7,190        6,406        6,781        6,054        5,668        5,131
coal mine

      The table shows that Virginia’s coal industry has mined fewer tons of coal and
employed fewer workers since 1990. This is generally attributed to the fact that most of
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September 10, 2001
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the thicker, more easily mined coal seams already have been mined. The remaining
tonnage is more difficult and expensive to mine. This has happened at the same time that
the price of coal, which is effected by the price of natural gas and oil, dramatically
decreased from the post-oil-embargo highs. Large, low-cost, Western United States coal
mines have been developed, and there has been increased competition from other
countries such as Venezuela, Columbia, Australia, and Indonesia.

        These changes required coal mine operators to increase efficiencies by producing
coal on more shifts (with some mines going to 24 x 7 production), using more
independent contractors on the mines, and eliminating functions such as training and
safety department which are not directly producing coal. This in turn, has lead to an
increased expectation that DMME will provide training and mine safety services to the

        The drop in the annual tonnage mined and the number of Virginia coal miners has
been slowed by enactment of the Virginia Coalfield Employment Enhancement Tax
Credit. Some coal mine operators have stated that they would not have opened new
mines without this credit.

        The amount of coal mined also has been influenced by the dramatic rise in the
price of natural gas in 2000. While this has led to an increase in the price of coal both on
the spot market and in new long-term contracts, the sharp rise in gas prices has made coal
more cost-competitive with natural gas for large utility projects. This increase in demand
has helped stabilize coal production in Virginia. The price rise also has led to an increase
in the number of new mine licenses and permits in the state. This may lead to future
increases in coal production.

        Growth in Virginia coal production may be limited by a shortage of trained,
experienced coal miners. Many miners have left the marketplace as the number of jobs
shrunk during the 1990s. Additionally, the average age of coal mine workers has been
increasing, so that today it is about 50 years old. The industry will be faced with
replacing these workers in the near future. These processes are placing increased
demands on DMME for miner training and miner certification services.

        Virginia’s natural gas production has increased significantly since the early 1990s
due to substantial development of coalbed methane reserves. This growth in production
has been coincident with the growing demand for natural gas for generating electricity.

        Future natural gas production in Virginia will depend on the life span of existing
coalbed methane wells, the amount of new well development, and the future markets for
gas in residential, industrial and utility markets.
 DMME IT Strategic Plan
 September 10, 2001
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         The price of natural gas fluctuated from 1994 through 1999 in response to
 changing oil prices and warmer or cooler winters. However, the demand for natural gas
 caught up with supply in 2000, resulting in a sharp increase in natural gas costs. This has
 lead to an increase in natural gas well drilling and will lead to additional increases in
 production. These higher prices are expected to last for a few years until supply can
 catch back up with demand.

                          1990            1995            1996          1997         1998         1999         2000

    Mcf gas production    14,773,584      49,867,443      54,290,353    58,248,751   58,519,271   71,825,610   71,545,334

    Number of gas wells   819             1,671           1,819         2,018        2,400        2,741        3,058

         DMME sees a risk that, after the current natural gas price increase subsides, gas
 well operators may abandon wells without plugging and reclaiming them. This would
 leave the plugging and reclamation to be completed by DMME. If there were a
 significant number of bond forfeitures, there would be insufficient funds available to
 complete the needed work. DMME will closely monitor this situation, take interim
 actions such as requiring some inactive wells to be plugged to ensure significant numbers
 of unreclaimed sites are not abandoned, and address the amount of required bond if
 significant numbers do become abandoned.

         A significant disagreement has been developing between the coal and natural gas
 industries over which industry has dominant rights to develop its property when the coal
 and gas are located on the same tracts of land. Coalbed methane well operators are
 required to obtain consent from coal owners to stimulate (or fracture) a coal seam for
 natural gas production.

          Virginia’s mineral mining industry has been experiencing a period of growth in
 the last few years. As Virginia’s economic engine has grown over the past years, so has
 the mineral mining industry. The majority of non-fuel minerals mined in Virginia are
 used for road and building construction. Smaller amounts are used for agriculture, high
 temperature ceramics, glass manufacturing, and absorbing clays. As the state increases
 its expenditure for highway construction, production of non-fuel minerals grows.

                          1990         1995            1996            1997          1998         1999         2000
Tons of minerals
                          95,304,541   82,275,495      84,717,936      89,918,385    89,836,868   91,495,727   96,389,509
Number of mineral
                                       482             480             488           485          484          480
Number of mineral
                          5,288        4,865           5,103           4,855         4,816        5,140        4,842
mine workers
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        To help meet this growing demand, Virginia’s mineral mine operators have
increasingly hired independent contractors for many mine jobs. This has lead to an
increase in the demands for training and certification of mineral mine contractors and

      Virginia’s mineral mine worker population is becoming more diverse. For
example, there are increasing numbers of Spanish-speaking workers in some areas.
DMME will have to modify its mine safety and training services to address this changing

IT Impact

        DMME’s information technology and systems must be nimble and able to adjust
to rapidly changing customer needs. Systems must be flexible to quickly generate the
data needed to assess changing issues. The agency’s IT systems must be able to quickly
incorporate data changes due to new legislative or regulatory mandates. The agency’s IT
systems must facilitate breaking down programmatic or division stove piping, improving
communication among DMME divisions, and providing seamless services to the
agency’s customers. DMME must move away from its legacy data systems and
incorporate new technology into its services. Additionally, DMME must maintain and
update its regulatory systems, such as the divisions’ laptop systems, as the industry

IT Strategy

        DMME must make the change from division-centric, multi-value databases to a
relational database/data warehouse environment. Existing centralized division data
management programs and field inspector laptop systems must be adapted to this new
environment. Programs, such as expansion of the electronic permitting to non-coal
production, must be developed to enhance mineral extraction site permitting speed and
accuracy. IT solutions to facilitate sharing of geologic and programmatic information
among DMME divisions must be further developed. IT solutions must enhance the
department’s digital mapping and geographic information system capabilities, and allow
the department to develop new applications for the data, such as better modeling of
geologic conditions in areas around underground mines.

Base Funding

       DMME will use base funding to implement these IT strategies.

Additional Funding

       Not applicable.
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September 10, 2001
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Measure(s) of Success

        DMME uses a series of performance measures to help evaluate the success of its
strategic and operational objectives. These include measures such as the percentage of
mineral extraction permits that are processed within deadline, the number of incidents
causing off-site impacts per 100 permitted mineral extraction sites, the percent of
required inspections completed within time deadlines, and percent of geologic maps
available in digital form. DMME evaluates the results of these performance measures as
a method to measure the success of the related department information technology

       Additionally, information technology project managers establish scheduled
milestones for completion of their projects. The unique milestones for each project are
based on legal deadlines, such as when a new law becomes effective, and programmatic
needs. Project success is measured against timely accomplishment of these milestones.

Issue DMMELT02: Federally-driven changes to regulation of mineral extraction

Issue and Overall Impact

         There has been a pattern of increased involvement by federal government
agencies in mineral extraction activities. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and
Environmental Protection Agency have expanded their efforts to regulate mountaintop
removal and valley fill practices on coal mines in West Virginia. While some of this
expansion was muted following a U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturning a
lower court ruling in the West Virginia mountain top mining case, significant new actions
are covered under a voluntary settlement agreement and are being implemented outside
of the litigation. For example, the federal Office of Surface Mining is completing an
Environmental Impact Statement for surface mining activities that may lead to increased
federal environmental and historic resource permitting requirements. This may in turn
lead to an increased need for digital geologic, historic mining, and land use data to be
used in permit applications and reviews. Any increased level of regulation on the West
Virginia sites will lead to demands for such regulation in Virginia.

        An additional example of this increased federal involvement in coal mining
regulation is seen in the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to force the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers to require individual project permits for mine reclamation that
involves rebuilding surface streams in areas where excess mine overburden is placed.
EPA Administrator Whitman also stated in a recent speech in West Virginia that she
foresees additional EPA involvement in regulating the nation’s coal mining industry.
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        The Environmental Protection Agency and several Northeast states have
increased enforcement actions against operators of Midwest and East Coast coal-fired
power plants under the Clean Air Act, New Source Review program. Dominion Power
has reached a tentative settlement agreement with the EPA and New York in one case.
While the EPA has temporarily suspended these enforcement actions, it is considering a
new multi-pollutant regulatory approach for coal-fired power plants. These actions have
led electric utilities to look at carbon sequestration projects as part of their environmental
programs. In response, DMME has been working with Southwestern Virginia
landowners and utility companies to implement carbon sequestration projects on coal
mined lands. This has the potential to increase the amount of new reclamation of old
unreclaimed coal mine lands.

        The EPA has signed consent decrees in Virginia and other states to implement
total maximum daily load (TMDL) limits on lakes, stream, and rivers. States are being
required to draft TMDLs under the terms of the settlement. Runoff from historic mining
has been found to be a major source of existing pollution loads in some Southwestern
Virginia streams. Therefore, DMME and the Department of Environmental Quality
(DEQ) have signed a memorandum of agreement under which DMME is taking the
technical lead in developing resource extraction based TMDLs for those stream
segments. DEQ is also looking to DMME and affiliated stakeholders to help reduce the
pollution loads in these streams. The DEQ is looking at regulation of mine discharges
and reclamation of abandoned mined lands as ways to decrease pollution loads. To date,
DMME has been able to obtain federal grants for the cost of developing the TMDLs.
However, if DMME is unable to continue to obtain these grants, the department could be
faced with either no longer completing the mineral extraction related TMDLs or requiring
state funds for such work.

        The federal authorization for the Abandoned Mined Land (AML) program is set
to expire in 2004. If it is not reauthorized, there will be fewer funds available to reclaim
abandoned coal mines. This would decrease Virginia’s ability to fix the public safety and
environmental degradation problems from these abandoned mines. This also would
decrease Virginia’s ability to implement TMDLs response plans in Southwestern

        There are other related issues that will complicate reauthorization of the AML
program. The interest from the trust fund is used to support the retirement and health
care funds for retired union miners whose parent companies are no longer available to
pay into these funds. Many Western states that do not have the mining legacy of Eastern
states such as Virginia have objected to continued taxation of Western coal production
for mine reclamation. It is to early to determine whether the fund will be reauthorized.
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        The Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation (LEAF) prevailed in a case
against the federal EPA over its approval of Alabama’s underground injection control
(UIC) program governing gas and oil wells. This case decision requires all coalbed
methane well stimulation to be covered under a Class II UIC permit. Depending on how
the EPA and the State of Alabama implement the UIC regulations, or on any change in
the federal Clean Drinking Water Act, this may substantially limit development of
coalbed methane wells. Virginia does not have primacy over UIC permitting – these
permits are issued out of EPA’s Philadelphia regional office. In response to this case, the
EPA is studying issues related to stimulation of coalbed methane wells. There also are
two pieces of legislation before the federal Congress that would require EPA to study the
need for such regulation before requirements were imposed in all states. If the LEAF
decision stands in current form, Virginia may need to review how it wishes to handle
Class II UIC wells. DMME continues to monitor this case, as well as federal legislative

        Recently, there was a major coal impoundment failure in Kentucky. This
impoundment failure came after a series of smaller impoundment failures in Virginia,
Kentucky and West Virginia in previous years. While DMME has taken steps to lessen
the risk of a failure in Virginia, the National Research Council is studying the need for
changed regulation of mine impoundments. This may lead to new demands for
regulatory action by DMME.

       DMME has partnered with community groups and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to complete mine reclamation and acid mine drainage control projects in
Southwestern Virginia. The Corps of Engineers is interested in completing additional
acid mine drainage control projects both on coal mines in Southwestern Virginia and on
mineral mines in other parts of Virginia.

IT Impact

       As federal laws or regulations change, the Department of Mines, Minerals and
Energy must modify its programs to implement these changes. This often requires
changes or additions to the agency’s information technology systems. DMME needs to
maintain flexibility in its information technology systems to account for these ongoing

IT Strategy

       DMME’s regulatory systems will need to be moved to a relational database
environment. This will allow new system development and system modifications to be
more easily accomplished as federal, and corresponding state, regulations change.
DMME also must maintain the capability to modify its legacy information systems to
incorporate new or amended legal requirements.
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Base Funding

       DMME will use base funding to implement these IT strategies.

Additional Funding

       Not applicable.

Measure(s) of Success

        DMME will measure the timelines of the agency’s response to federal statutory or
regulatory changes as a measure of the success of the related information technology

Issue DMME LT03: Changing DMME business practices for enhanced customer

Issue and Overall Impact

        DMME’s customers expect efficient service that meets their needs. They do not
care whether the service comes from any specific section within DMME, or for that
matter from any specific state agency. For example, citizens expect abandoned mine
lands causing public safety and environmental problems to be reclaimed. They do not
care what government program achieves this reclamation. In response, DMME is
developing ways to create a more seamless delivery of service to its customers. DMME
is committed to examining and modifying its business structure to achieve this seamless
customer service.

        Customers increasingly expect electronic access to DMME business. The
department offers a substantial amount of geologic, energy efficiency, and mining
regulatory program information and provides digital data and maps through its Internet
site. The department also has implemented an electronic permitting process for coal-
mine permits. DMME is evaluating opportunities for more direct electronic commerce
such as paying permit fees or purchasing materials directly across the Internet. DMME is
evaluating expanding customer access to its electronic information through approaches
such as extranets and enhancing the ability of DMME employees to access this data
through a digital data and mapping Intranet application. Additionally, operators of
external web sites are demanding data from DMME to use on their web sites. One
example includes Wise County’s requests for DMME coal mine mapping data for use in
the County’s GIS.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 16

        DMME has used a workflow product as the basis of the agency’s coal mine
electronic permitting application. This workflow technology offers opportunity for
DMME to streamline other services such as other regulatory program permits and
internal administrative processes.

       Customers are more and more expecting seamless access to all of state
government, not just to individual agencies. As cross cutting issues arise such as the
need for watershed-wide management strategies, agencies will be required to work
together more closely.

       Outside parties are continuing to require DMME employees involvement in legal
proceedings regarding mineral extraction activities. DMME employees have been asked
to appear as expert witnesses or to testify regarding actions taken during inspections.
Additionally, some outside parties are using the Freedom of Information Act to gather
information for legal proceedings in lieu of legal discovery proceedings.

       The Commonwealth is implementing a new statewide, shared land mobile radio
network. DMME will replace its existing radio system as this new statewide network is
implemented in Southwestern Virginia. DMME is working with the system’s developers
to ensure that the system will enable mobile computing and data transfer, so that agency
employees will have in-the-field access to the agency’s information systems.

        Virginia has started its eVA statewide electronic commerce program. DMME and
the Department of General Services must develop an electronic procurement system
interface to facilitate DMME use of the eVA system.

        DMME has expanded the use of performance measurement as a management tool.
This has expanded the uses of data collected in agency databases, and created the need to
collect new data. This has allowed DMME to better assess the effectiveness and
efficiency of its customer services.

         DMME integrates support for the Commonwealth’s economic development
activities into its programs. DMME works with groups such as the Virginia Economic
Development Partnership and the Coalfield Economic Development Authority. This
partnering will continue to offer challenges to DMME to broaden its work beyond its
traditional mineral resource and energy efficiency activities. Examples of this expanded
work include efforts to help the Coalfield Economic Development Authority locate
energy production facilities in Southwestern Virginia, to provide assistance to the
developer of the Coalfield Expressway, and to provide assistance to localities to develop
industrial development facilities on abandoned coal and mineral mined lands.

        Virginia state government is placing more emphasis on managing water pollution
issues on a watershed basis. As part of this effort DMME has been assessing the need for
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 17

abandoned and orphaned mines on a watershed-wide basis. The department also has
started working with watershed-based community groups to partner on mined land
reclamation projects.

IT Impact

        DMME’s information technology systems must be able to be adapted to new
electronic government applications. This will require either programming digital
interfaces between DMME systems and the central state systems or other integration
strategies to tie DMME’s activities to the central state systems. DMME needs to ensure
any integration of systems enhances end-user capability and does not diminish the
capability of the information technology tools available to the end users.

        The department’s information technology systems may need to be upgraded to
accept new technologies such as workflow and digital signature. Technology refresh
must be maintained to ensure the department’s information technology systems can run
the new applications. New information technology solutions must be tied to agency
business needs. Information technology investment management principles can be used
to help assess the need for information technology solutions. DMME must maintain
backup and disaster plans to ensure continued operations as the department relies more
on technology to achieve its intended business results.

IT Strategy

         DMME must evaluate e-government opportunities for enhanced customer service
and internal efficiencies. The agency must maintain a regular technology refresh
schedule, implementing new software applications that improve service effectiveness and
efficiency and that exceed minimum information technology investment management
standards. This includes items such as upgrading to MS Windows and Office 2000 for
the department’s standard client and server systems. The department also must develop
consolidated digital mapping standards and metadata, and will be evaluating methods to
integrate digital image storage and file management into its database and laptop systems.
The department must develop the systems to integrate central electronic government
systems into the department’s business. The department must maintain and periodically
test its disaster recovery plans.

Base Funding

       DMME will use base funding to implement these IT strategies.

Additional Funding

       Not applicable.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 18

Measure(s) of Success

        Information technology activities that improve DMME business practices can be
measured by efficiency and outcome performance measures. For example, standards that
improve agency staff’s capability to review permits can be measured by evaluating the
average time the permits are in each stage of review. Performance measurement of
administrative services is completed through methods such as focus group meetings with
line division staff. Other service improvements are measured using customer surveys.

Issue DMMELT04: Education about minerals and energy issues.

Issue and Overall Impact

        DMME is being asked to take an expanded role in education of mineral extraction
industry workers, local government officials, and the general public. Coal and mineral
mine operators and independent contractors have increasingly requested additional
training from DMME.

        The average age of coal miners has increased to around 50. Replacing this aging
workforce will require a substantial number of new miners be trained, both to work as
general coal miners and to fill specialized positions such as mine foremen, chief
electricians, blasters, and others.

        Local government officials often are faced with conflicts between mineral
extraction activities and residential and commercial development. This happens as
suburban sprawl reaches areas containing quarries, or as coal mining or gas well
operations expands into a new area. Local officials also are faced with problems of
development occurring in areas with adverse geologic conditions. In response, local
officials have looked to DMME for assistance about how to best incorporate mineral
issues in comprehensive planning. DMME has provided broad-based training to local
land use planners, and is being asked to provide assistance to individual local officials.

       DMME is being asked to develop geological and mineral teaching materials to
meet the state standards of learning requirements. In response, DMME has partnered
with groups such as Radford University, the Virginia Aggregates Association, and Luck
Stone to produce geologic and mineral educational tools. DMME also works with school
systems on mineral educational issues through areas such as hosting student visits during
the Wise County Coal Appreciation Days, and as providing presenters at teacher and
student training institutes. DMME also is partnering with the Interstate Mining Compact
Commission teacher workshops to develop coal mining related teaching tools.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 19

        The Consumer Advisory Board reporting to the utility restructuring Legislative
Transition Task Force has asked DMME to evaluate the need for energy efficiency
consumer education in Virginia. The Board is recommending that the Commonwealth
take a larger role in such consumer education.

IT Impact

        DMME will need to look to enhanced Internet and automated services to serve the
needs for increased mining, mineral and energy education. Customers will need access to
department information and data at their educational level, be it the general public, a
doctoral geology student, a mining company, or an engineering consultant. This will
require making the data available through a variety of mechanisms, ranging from direct
database access, CD-ROM based programs, direct Internet-based training, virtual reality
presentations, and others. Additionally, all data should be qualified using metadata so
that users can understand the quality and limitation of the data sets. Increasing the level
of Internet access to department information systems raises new security concerns that
must be addressed.

IT Strategy

        DMME will need to provide access to educational information and training in a
manner that is easy for customers to access. DMME will need to implement a next-
generation Internet site, with features such as extranet or other interactive access for
classes of customers, which allow users to quickly access the information they need.
This next-generation Internet access must be provided in a manner that protects the
integrity of the departments information systems. Internet access also must be accessible
by persons with disabilities.

Base Funding

       DMME will use base funding to implement these IT strategies.

Additional Funding

       Not applicable.

Measure(s) of Success

        DMME will need to measure customer satisfaction with its educational activities
through tools such as customer surveys and customer group reviews. DMME also must
look to secondary measures such as student success rates on state standards of learning
Virginia geology modules to further measure the efficacy of its educational efforts.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 20

Issue DMMELT05: Responding to under-served areas.

Issue and Overall Impact

       Issues continually arise in areas where state government is not providing services.
For example, customers have been requesting new data about the state’s groundwater
resources as development is expanding in areas with limited groundwater supplies.
While the Department of Environmental Quality traditionally has focused its resources on
groundwater in the Tidewater area where there have been large withdrawals, groundwater
resources are increasingly being used in the Northern Neck, Piedmont, and Shenandoah
Valley. There is no coordinated state approach to providing information about
groundwater resources in these areas. Citizens and localities have looked to DMME to
provide information on the geology and the areas potential to supply groundwater for
new development in these areas.

        The Commonwealth has begun its transition to a restructured electric utility
industry. In response, state government will have to manage procurement of electricity
differently. DMME has reached agreement with the Department of General Services to
take the lead technical role in helping the Commonwealth’s agencies and institutions
competitively procure electricity. This will require better management of state utility
data to develop needed energy procurement packages. The executive branch of
government also is being expected to take a role in the policy considerations of how the
electric and gas industries are being changed. DMME has been asked to increase its
involvement in these issues as legislation has been taken up by the General Assembly.

        There is an increasing public expectation that old, unreclaimed mineral extraction
lands will be cleaned up. These lands may be causing public safety and health problems
or polluting waters of the Commonwealth. DMME is working to expand the available
funding for mine reclamation projects, and to improve the department’s management
capability of projects.

        Economic development agencies, particularly in Southwestern Virginia, are
increasingly looking at mined land as an economic development opportunity. These
lands often have good road or rail access and utility services. The sites can be left flat to
enhance their development potential in an area that is mostly mountainous. DMME is
being asked to partner with these organizations to assist in identifying and developing
these sites. Additionally, local groups are requesting DMME to complete reclamation on
abandoned mined lands in such a way as to support new industrial development. As the
Coalfield Expressway is constructed, local officials will look to DMME for assistance in
creating land adjacent to the highway that is suitable for economic development as part of
mining projects. This requires DMME to be better able to characterize these sites so that
the economic development organizations can match the sites to appropriate uses.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 21

IT Impact

        Using geologic data to help assess groundwater supplies requires the department’s
geologic and mineral resource data and mapping capabilities be flexible to new uses.
Groundwater analysis requires integration of information from various sources. This
leads to the need to develop digital geologic data inflexible formats that can be used in
various mapping or geographic information systems. It also leads to the need to integrate
regulatory information that relate to groundwater supplies with geologic data. This
requires that the department have flexible database systems that can be integrated with
geologic and topographic mapping programs.

         Optimizing electric procurement activities requires gathering and analyzing large
amounts of utility metering information. This requires use of real-time monitoring and
data gathering, as well as computer-based analysis and control programs. Systems used
for utility data gathering and analysis in state agencies will need to be coordinated to
ensure interoperability and coordination. Implementation of this capability across state
agencies will require substantial cooperation among the agencies.

       Characterization of mined land for economic development uses requires analysis
of numerous site factors such as location, access to transportation and utilities, geology,
and topography. Data systems containing this information must be flexible to provide for
both general regional analysis of potential sites as well as site-specific analysis.

IT Strategy

        DMME geologic, mineral resource, and regulatory data systems must be
integrated and flexible to account for the varied types of analysis required to develop new
services. Data should be shareable among the systems, through data warehouse or data
mart technologies. Data should be able to be imported into various mapping and
geographic information systems within both DMME and outside organizations. This
leads to the need for open-system, relational databases that contain data in standard

         DMME must develop energy use and cost data systems that integrate with
systems found in other state agencies. Procurement of new systems to gather and analyze
utility data must be carefully handled to provide the end-user and management level
capability that is required to achieve the intended energy savings and cost control results.

Base Funding

       DMME will use base funding to implement these IT strategies.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 22

Additional Funding

       Not applicable.

Measure(s) of Success

       DMME will evaluate the flexibility of its information systems to provide data for
the wide variety of end use programs the data can add value to. This will be done
through technical analysis of data interoperability and surveying customers using this

       Utility monitoring and tracking systems will be evaluated to measure whether
they provide the data needed to analyze energy use in a user-friendly manner
understandable by both facility managers and utility contract managers.

3. Agency IT Vision

Applications Environment

        DMME’s vision for the future consists of an integrated set of administrative,
regulatory, inspection, and enforcement applications operating on an industry standard
relational database platform. The agency’s field inspectors will be equipped with the
capability to interact with agency-wide data sets that will provide them with reliable and
timely information, as well as providing a reliable mechanism for collecting information
and images in the field. DMME’s applications environment will be made up of
client/server applications running in a n-tier configuration. The applications in this
environment will be made up of thin and thick clients, as well as web-based applications.
DMME applications will be developed internally or contracted with external contract
software developers when commercial off-the-shelf products are unavailable.
Information in DMME’s database systems will be accessible through standard reporting
tools such as Crystal Reports, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft Excel.

        DMME’s local procurement systems will be interfaced with the eVA procurement
and other central state information technology systems to provide simple and reliable data
interchange and interoperability.

       By migrating to an industry standard relational database, DMME will be able to
develop or procure state of the art business applications which meet the business needs of
the agency. It will also enable DMME’s application developers to use current
development methodologies, tools, and applications.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 23

Public Web Access

       DMME’s core databases will be accessible to the public through a web-based
information portal that provides an easy to use and expandable collection of data. This
data will be automatically updated from DMME’s core business applications to a secure
externally accessed web site.

       DMME’s customers will be able to transact business with the agency both in
person and across the Internet. Customers will be able to go on-line to purchase geologic
and mineral resource products, will be able to file permit applications and reports, and
complete other agency business. Customers will use Virginia’s standardized digital
signature protocol as required for security and legal accountability.

         By web enabling DMME’s databases, DMME will improve its overall customer
service by providing 24-hour, direct, and easy access to information available in
DMME’s databases. The implementation of e-commerce will improve that division’s
ability to service their customers. An on-line catalog will provide 24-hour customer
access, as well as an up to date list of all available products. Customers will be able to
submit and update required information to the department in a more efficient, electronic

Technical Infrastructure

        DMME’s desktop and laptop environment will be standardized on Windows 2000
Professional. The DMME server infrastructure will consist of Windows 2000 Server and
Windows 2000 Advanced Server platforms. The standard protocol for the LAN and
WAN environment will be TCP/IP. Desktop and laptop management will be provided
through the implementation of Microsoft management tools such as Microsoft SMS and
MOM. DMME’s office applications environment consists of Microsoft Office. The
messaging and collaboration system for DMME will consist of Microsoft Exchange 2000
utilizing Microsoft Outlook as the standard e-mail and collaboration client.

       DMME will use a regular technology refresh process to maintain information
technology systems that meet end-user needs.

        DMME’s spatial data will be centralized and accessible throughout the agency’s
divisions. This data will be integrated with DMME’s core business applications.

       The standardization of the DMME desktop and system infrastructure will
maximize the efficiency of information system operations. Using industry leading
support and management tools will increase the department’s capability for desktop
support and operations by allowing automated software distribution and updates.
DMME IT Strategic Plan
September 10, 2001
Page 24

        Creation of a common, open standard for DMME’s spatial data will provide all
agency divisions with consistent, reliable, and fast access to all agency spatial data. This
will enhance DMME’s capabilities to operate as a seamless organization. Use of
common, open standards for spatial data will enable applications integration, as well as
faster and simpler information publication and distribution to DMME’s external
customers. DMME will be better able to manage spatial data in a secure environment,
and provide both information and metadata to agency customers. DMME’s private
customers and public agency partners will be better able to integrate agency spatial data
into their applications.

IT Management

         DMME will use its strategic planning process to identify mission focused IT
initiatives. As part of this effort, DMME will more formally use Information Technology
Investment Management (ITIM) processes to select, control and evaluate IT projects.

        Use of ITIM processes will assist DMME in creating a business driven IT
portfolio based on the needs and requirements developed within the DMME’s strategic
planning process.

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