PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 92d CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION
Vol. 118 WASHINGTON, FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 1972 No. 124
House of Representatives
The House was not In session today. Its next meeting will be held on Monday, August 7, 1972, at 12 o'clock noon.
EASTERN MONTANA COAL DEPOSITS
AND STRIP MINING
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, eastern
Montana has a very rich and underdeveloped
resource in its vast coal deposits
which extend across the eastern
part of the State. Plans for developing
this coal by strip mining have generated
considerable controversy. There are two
FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 1972
points of view: First, the economic interests;
and, second, those who are concerned
about the environment.
I do not want to see eastern Montana
irreparably scarred by unsightly strip
mines which cannot be restored to their
original state. This is too much to ask in
the name of economic development. We
must have a strong set of mles and regulations,
State and Federal, which would
require the reclaiming of all mined
lands. If it is demonstrated that the land
cannot be reclaimed, ther. strip mining
should be prohibited.
An area of particular concern to me Is
when the mineral rights are held by the
developer and the surface rights are held
by different persons for purposes such as
farming and ranching. The farmers and
ranchers should not be asked to stand
by while the surface of their lands is
torn apart. Monetary compensation Is
not the answer. Some means must be
found to make certain that these people
are given equal consideration and that
both rights are recognized. Adequate protection
in this area will undoubtedly require
legislative action by the States under
their eminent domain laws. The Department
of the Interior must also provide
these guarantees in the management
of our public lands.
In some parts of eastern Montana,
such as in the vicinity of Colstrip, the
title to subsurface and surface rights are
owned by the same party. Strip mining
would not disrupt any other activity. The
one thing that must be required in these
instances is proper reclamation of the
land for the future.
I stand ready to assist and support in
the U.S. Senate in bringing about a
st.!'ong workable program of envil·onmental
protection tlu-ough legislation and
appropriate studies and inventories of
our mineral resources.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 48, Folder 33, Mansfield Libary, University of Montana
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