March 16, 1971 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE s 3207
By Mr. CHURCH (for himself, Mr.
JORDAN Of IdahO, Mr. MANSFIELD,
Mr. METCALF, and Mr. MOSS):
S. 1240. A b111 relating to prospecting
and exploring for minerals on public
lands of the United States by means of
bulldozers or other mechanical earthmovim(
equipment. Referred to the Committee
on Interior and Insular Affairs.
Mr. CHURCH. Mr. President, I intJtoduce
for appropriate reference, on behalf
of myself and my distinguished colleagues,
the Senator from Idaho (Mr.
JoRDAN) and the Senators from Montana
(Mr. MANSFIELD and Mr. METCALF), and
the Senator from Utah (Mr. Moss), a bill
relating to prospecting and exploring for
minerals· on public lands of the United
States by means of bulldozers or other
mechanical earthmoving equipment·.
The West has long borne the scars of
mining. Our mountains P.re pock-marked
with abandoned tunnels, tailings, and the
ruins of old mills, where rich ores were
once extracted from the hard rock.
Today, however, _:1e advance in technology
from pick-and-shovel prospecting
to mineral exploration with the bulldozer
has created serious new problems,
not known to the e~J,rly West.
The mining law has f:ailed to keep pace
with mechanized prospecting. One man
with a bulldozer, in search CYf minerals,
Clllll scr-ape away the topsoil, ruin a
streambed, or wreck a mountain meadow-
with no requirement that he abate
these damages. He is given unlimited
license by the archaic General Mining
Law of 1872.
Mr. President, this bill is in no way designed
to discourage or disrupt legitimate
prospecting on the public domain, which
is necessary to our mineral economy. It
would not affect pick-and-shovel prospecting,
but it would subject mechanized
prospecting to reasonable regulation.
In certain areas, where, due to ·fragile
soil conditions, steep slopes, or high elevations,
bulldozers would cause irreparable
damage, their use could be prohibited.
Everywhere, the employment of
bulldozers or other mechanical earthmoving
equipment for mineral exploration
would be preceded by the filing of a
decla~ation of intent as to how and where
the proposed prospecting would be carried
out, and the posting of a performance
bond with the Bureau of Land Management
Office nearest the affected area.
The operator using bulldozers or other
mechanical earthmoving equipment
would be responsible for the exercise of
reasonable restraint, including the restoration
or reclamation of the surface of
the lands, unless a valid discovery is
The Secretary of the Interior would
be directed to prepare and publish in the
Fed.eral Register the necessary regulations
to carry out the provisions of the
act, and in the case of any actions affecting
the national forest lands would
be required to consult with and receive
the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture.
It seems to me, Mr. President, that this
legislation is long overdue. With increasing
public demand that decent protection
be given to the quality of our environment,
we would be remiss in our duty if
we failed to call upon the mining industry
to accept responsibility in its prospecting
activities on the public lands.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent
that the text of the bill follow my
remarks, together with a statement by
the distinguished majority leader, the
Senator from Montana ove all considerations Is,
however, the !act tha.t pa.st managerial practlces
and environmental considerations have
been deficient. It Is not my Intention at this
time to discuss the Commission's report.
However, It Is my hope the Congress wlll
rapidly move to r~ognlze the magnitude of
the problems so amply demonstrated In this
report, and that expeditious consideration
will be given to the reviewing and eventual
adoption of recommendaltlons which 'l''til
provide for long range governmental comaol
or Its lands.
One of our ma.jor problems In providing
for adequate !and management Is a direct
result of past legislation, of jobs half done
and poorly done which lead that segment
of the national econom~ dependent upon
resources belonging to the people to believe
erroneously that the Federal Government Intends
for the ul tlma.te relinquishment of
public lands, either In fact or In philosophy.
For anyone to assume an Inalienable right
to the natural resources of this Nation without
essential consideration for the concepts
of multiple land u.oo.ge, environmental concerns
and the changing soc.lal values of the
people Is ma.klng a gra.ve mistake. The mlnlng
laws of 1872 were promulgated by a ph11osophy
to encourage westwa.Td movement and
economic development. To that end this
legislation was most successful. The problems
we meet today are problems of this centurynot
the last-and to assume that measures
effective In the 1870's can be applied to the
1970's Is erroneous. The time has come for
a reordering of the legislation In these areas.
I apprecla te that the concern I express Is
shared by a great many of my colleag·ues
In the congress and that a number of responsible
people elsewhere are giving serious
con&lderatlon to the revamping of these laws.
I am a.m.ong the first to support and promote
economic development. It Is essential
that we move ahead In these areas, but this
should not be done at the expense of our
Nation's ba.slc resources. There exists today
far too many examples of blatant disregard
for human values and ecological considerations.
The existing level of lnd ustrlal t echnology.
as well as the efforts of a few conscientious
finns In the timber and mining
Industry, attest to the fact that there Is no
reason to believe that quality and be.lanced
development-and I would stress qu.a.llty and
balanced~annot take place wh11e giving
consideration to ·the resulting Impact.
Last fall, In expressing my concern to the
Forest Service, I asked that I be provided
with a detailed report Indicating the present
level of activity on federal properties In my
State of Montana, as well as the course of
a.ctlon being taken to asswre environment al
considerations. I have now had an opportunity
to review preliminary reports on this
matter. There ls little question that the
problems are both real and substantial.
Prior to the Introduction of legislation, my
Immediate concern had been In assuring the
neces£ary funds for federal agenc:les to nsslst
In the enforcement of existing rules and regulations.
Through the efforta of the distinguished
Senator from West Virginia, Mr.
Byrd, this was accompUshed, a.nd sufficient
funds were provided the Forest Service for
mineral ma.ttagement !or the remainder of
the 1971 fiscal year. In addition, I have recently
requested the Senate and House Appropriation&
Committees to Include additional
funds !or mineral management In the
FY '72 appropriation measures.
Mr. President, I would take this opportunity
to express my particular appreciation
to the distinguished Senator from Idaho, Mr.
Church, for hls recognition of this problem
d.Ild !or his decision to hold hearings In the
early spring to thoroughly review the situation.'
The blll Introduced today is a step In the
right direction. Our work Is certainly not
complete In these a.Teas, but I do believe
that we are making substantial progress In
recognizing the extent and scope o! our problems,
as well as what measures are necessary
to bring about a realistic solution.
Mr. JORDAN of Idaho. Mr. President, I
am pleased to join my colleagues as a cosponsor
of this bill to restrict the use of
bulldozers and other mechanized earthmoving
equipment in mineral prospecting.
This bill is not designed to prevent the
use of such equipment where it is needed
and where surface conditions permit its
use. It is aimed exclusively at unnecessary
and destructive use of bulldozers on
fragile terrain. It also requires a performance
bond to assure reclamation of
the 'bulldozed area.
I feel sure that responsible miners will
not object to the objectives of this proposed
legislation. I have heard them express
condemnation of mining property
promoters and speculators who ha.ve
gouged out waffle iron designs on entire
mountainsides, allegedly for prospecting
or assessment work.
A responsible miner loves the outdoors
and mountain scenery, and he resents irresponsible
mining operations. Moreover,
these miners utilize drilling and
other modern prospecting methods
wherever possible to search for minerals
and prove their claims, and they cooperate
with the administrators of the public
This proposed law, of course, will not
take the place of major revision~ry leg-
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 47, Folder 21, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
March 16, 1971 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE
islation to update the 1872 mining law,
but it is needed now and can apply untll
more extensive legislation is considered
and enacted. Major legislative changes
were recommended by the Public Land
Law Review Commission, of which I wa.s
This law also will need to be implemented
by State laws dealing with state
requirements for prospecting, discovery
cuts, and assessment work. I a.m pleased
that my own State of Idaho recently _enacted
a law permitting modem methods
of mineral prospecting.
Supplementary action by the states
was recommended by the Forest Service
in a. reply I received to an inquiry about
unsightly bulldozer pits found in the
creek bottoms in Lemhi County in my
Mr. President, I a.sk unanimous consent
to have the letter of October 26, 1970,
from the Deputy Chief of the Forest
Service, printed in the REcORD.
There being io objection, the letter wa.s
ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as
U.S. 0EPARTMEN;r OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D.C., October 26, 1970.
Hon. LEN B. JoRDAN,
DEAR SENATOR JORDA.N: This responds to
your letter of October 19, 1970, and the enclosure
from Fred Crandall of Nevada City,
CaUfornia. Mr. Crandall deplores the bulldozer
pits found In creek bottoms In Lemhi
The Forest Service Is also very much concerned
with the unnecessary surface disturbance
often associated with prospecting
and exploration of mineral deposits. In our
recommendations to the PubUc Land Law
Review Commission we suggested that state
laws be aboUshed which require ::Uscovery
cuts and assessment work which do not directly
develop the ore deposit. We further
suggested that the United States mining laws
be amended to require permits for prospectIng
and mining leading toward essential and
productive development of mineral deposita
rather than meeting a requirement o! law
which would, In effect, waste the miners'
time and money and leave unnecessary defecratlon
of the landscape.
The Environmental Polley Act or 1969 slso
lends a great deal of support to maintaining
a quality environment. Forest Service policy
!or multiple use management Is being teframed
to emphasize our past practices or
conservation and continuing positive consideration
of the environment In our management
We appreciate Mr. Crandall's Interest In
the National Forest and !or taking the time
for expressing his concern In this mattet.
M. M. NELSON,
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 47, Folder 21, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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