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The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 31, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta f-THI LtTHMIDOl HBRALD-Thuraday, January Once coal's all gone Land reclamation good business these days (This third of five articles relates how coal companies, EF10I OPTICAL PRESCRIPTION CO. facing a strip-mining boom in the majestic United States West, are cleaning up as they So reclaiming stripped md, replanting grass, and recontouring bills.) By DAVID MUTCH The Christian Science Monitor COLSTRIP, Mont. Two vivid scenes at this coal- mining town in the dry southeastern part of Montana show the "before" and "after" of strip mining. Before: rows and rows of ugly "spoil loosely piled mounds of dirt that have been gouged back to expose the rich veins of coal. After: bulldozers shoving the mounds of dirt into con- tours that match the sur- rounding countryside. Trac- tors pulling disks to further loosen the soil. Special farm machinery "drilling" seed western wheat grass, needle and thread grass, oats, sweet well as shrubs and willow, junipers, and ponderosa pine. And the seeds grow. In one field where mining has ended, reclamation has been so successful that the untrained eye cannot distinguish where farmland and prairie end and FOR SALE BY OWNERS TWO 24 SUITE LUXURY APARTMENT BUILDINGS Full Price Each Cash To Mortgage On One Cash To Mortgage On The Other GLEN LITTLE CONSTRUCTION LTD. 206- 31 Street North Phono 327-4876 DANGER! MCMIOIICS M work Canada's alcoholics are a costly burden to industry. Wessely Hicks explains and tells how one of them was helped by one company's Alcoholism Recovery Program. This Saturday in Weekend Magazine. The Lethbridge Herald formerly mined land begins. In Zap, N D., where North American Mines is reclaiming old soil banks as well as new ones, three browsing deer take off in a leaping run when they spy visitors. In another area pheasants burst up out of the grass and wing over the hills. Soil composition, annual precipitation, problems of ground water, contour of terrain, and natural vegeta- tion differ in every area. At Zap, topsoil is removed before strip mining and saved for reclamation This is a grow- ing practice across the nation. Occasionally, however, drill- ing and analysis show that deeper layers of earth are more suited to growing vegetation and these can be put on top after strip mining. These are just two ex- amples of reclaiming the ravages of coal strip mining in the United States West today, gathered on a tour by this reporter. Never have companies wor.ked so hard at cleaning up the messes of the past. They are impelled in part of the ecology movement, with officials fearful of unfavorable publici- ty if they fail to reclaim They also are responding to pressure from the utility com- panies who buy much of their coal, and who are keenly aware of the pressure that can be generated today by open exploitation of land At Colstrip, Burlington Northern Railroad, which ac- quired land here in 1958, started reclaiming the land over two years ago and has already spent After the federal government, BN may be the largest owner of coal in the West from rights of way granted decades ago. BN wants to see the coal developed and it has contracts to haul billions of tons of coal owned by others to Midwestern and Eastern markets. And these days it's good business to reclaim land, not leave it in a mess. In fact, most state laws now require it North American Mines has acquired two billion tons of lignite (a poor grade of coal that can be readily converted into gas) to supply a' Michigan-Wisconsin utility company. The two firms want to build at least four gasification plants in the state (originally they announced The have had bad are investing plenty of money in reclamation up to an acre to show they are good citizens. Costs of reclamation are passed on to the consumer in higher fuel costs because it raises the cost of coal. But in fact it usually amounts to only a few pennies a ton. For example, if it cost 000 an acre to reclaim an acre I Re ace 329 5th Street S., Phone 329-3434 EnjoyThamSWaysl EAT HERE TAKE-OUT HOME DELIVERY Enjoy Our Scrumptuous m or our famous... Spaghetti and Meat Balls Anytime! We Deliver! Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday 12 Noon to 12 Midnight 329 5th Street S. Phone 329-3434 WANTED EXPERIENCED NEW USED CAR TRUCK SALESMEN APPLY IN PERSON TO L. D. FOSTER, GENERAL SALES MANAGER, DUNLOP FORD DUNLOP 'FORD Scoop loads truck with coal from gash at Decker, Mont. Geese on lake in reclaimed Illinois strip-mined land of land that yielded tons of coal not uncommon in the West the cost would be just over two cents a ton. By the time the cost filters down to the consumer, it is negligible. After traveling through North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, this reporter can testify to the amount of reclamation going on. Few Americans appear to be aware of its dimensions, estimate by officials at the U.S. bureau of mines in Washington, only about one- third to one-half of all land strip-mined for coal in America's history has been reclaimed. Today, state laws make it imperative for com- panies to reclaim every strip they dig, so that reclaiming now keeps pace with mining itself. Even in a state like Arizona, which has no specific reclamation law, a company such as Peabody carefully reclaims the Black Mesa workings. The actual percentage of reclaimed land so far is very difficult to judge, sources say. The last reliable study was made in 1965; much has changed since then. The bureau of mines estimates that coal strip mining now dis- turbs acres a week, or (weather permitting) a max- imum of acres a year This works out to 140 square miles a half the size of metropolitan Chicago Strip-mining for other minerals tears up one-third more acres a week Across the nation, strip- mining for all minerals has moved square miles an area the size of Massachusetts. While the coal companies argue they can indeed grow grass, many environmen- talists are hostile, and Congress is somewhere in the middle, trying to decide on a comprehensive minimum- standards national bill on strip mining that would recon- cile energy and environmental needs. Reclamation is hailed by the National Coal As- sociation's president Carl Bagge as a new science. It in- volves a fusion of surface min- ing (which itself is an earth moving job rather than traditional mining) with botany, forestry, hydrology, land management, and engineering. Coal companies are investing millions of dollars each year to develop new techniques and gather badly needed information. State and federal agencies are jumping at the chance to conduct simultaneous research, as are a number of universities. In Middlegrove, 111 Peabody operates a profitable farm corn, alfalfa, cattle and hogs on land once stripped. Knee-deep in alfalfa on top of a hill, manager Jack Lowary says, "We've cut this three times already this year for hay We are leaving the walnut trees, because they will be valuable some day. The land is more productive now than it ever was." Nine share farmers in- dividually rent some of the land to raise hogs and cattte. Chariots, red Angus, and Hereford cattle wander about Most of.the land has been regarded into gently sloping pastureland. Here and there rounded haystacks are used for winter feed. Just 70 miles from Chicago one busi- nessman has successfully developed strip-mined land into a residential-recreational area, Goose Lake Estates at Morris, 111. Four long narrow lakes, full of fresh water and stocked with a variety of fish, cut through the property. Off of them a number of canals branch out to carry boats into backyards. There is fishing, swimming, boating, and water skiing About a third of the 460 homes are year-round residences the rest are summer properties. In Europe, where popula- tion density is many times greater than it is in the United States, and where there is a tradition of closer regulation of business practices involv- ing significant impact on land and people, strip-mining is done without damage to the land and the way of life Almost the opposite has been true in the past in the United States. The widespread destruction of land in Appalachia in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky, through both surface and deep minig is proverbial. The question of reclamation has been addressed in an ex- tensive sutdy by the National Academy of Science. Titled "Rehabilitation Potential of Western Coal this prestigious study concludes that technology exists to reclaim land strip-mined in the West but adds that it has not yet been applied ade- quately. The National Academy study concludes: "We believe that much of the Western coal lands can be rehabilitated, provided that adequate care is taken in planning, monitoring, and in applying proper techni- ques. Only with proper en- couragement and enforce- ment will care be taken to allow for the preservation of the Western landscape. But there is clearly no widespread agreement on the question of stripping. Hera Are the ANSWERS for your NEWS QUIZ PART I: 1-b; 2-a; 3-Soviet; 4-True; 5-c PART II: 1-c; 2-e; 3-a; 4-b; 5-d PART III: 1-d; 2-a; 3-e; 4-b; 5-c PICTURE QUIZ: Aleksander Solzhenitzyn COLUMNER SHEETS INDEX CARDS TRANSFER CASES CHINOOK STATIONERS LTD. 319711 SI. S. PHONE 327-4991 FILING FOLDERS OFFICE DESKS FILE CABINETS Charter Flights to. LONDON Aboard WARDAIR luxury jet Weekend departures 2, 3, and 4 weeks duration Rotum faraa front i rs contact JLM.A. WORLD TRAVEL SERVICE VMI MR A Wi 8s 7 UP RADIO and TV LISTINGS Programs are hated by the Radio and Tele- vision Any variation in program schedule is due to last-minute changes by the stations and is not the responsibility ot Chinook Beverages Limited or The Leth- bridge Herald MONDAY thru FRIDAY 6 00 Buryl Clarke 6 SO Farm News 730 News 900 Cheelme 10 00 Walt Edwards 1200 John Oliver 12 15 Farm News THURSDAY NIQHT 5 00 Probe 1220 5.25 Sports 5 40 Market Report 5 41 Local News 6 00 World at Six 6 35 Jim Parsons Show 8 00 John Charles Show 12 30 Kevin McKenna Show 1230 News 1240 Sports 1 00 Gram Prices 1 01 Call of the Land 3 00 Jack Neuteld 500 News 7 00 Paul Tessier 1200 Roy Rennick CJOC 6 05 Jack Thys Show 7 SO News, Wthr, Sport 8 35 Phone Bill Show 10 05 Gord Whitehead 11 00 Jack Thys 12 00 Hour of Information 1 00 News and Grain Prices 1 05 Gord Whitehead 3 05 Jim Parsons CHIC.PM 100.9 MONDAY thru FRIDAY 6 00-9 00 a m Don McMaster 9 00 a m -tp 3 oo p m Concies Carousel 3 00-6 00 p m Don McMaster 600-1000 pm Del King 1000-12 Midnight Concerts. 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