1977 Scorecard Vote
(H.R. 2): The vote is on the Baucus amendment to prohibit new surface mining in all alluvial valley floors west of the 100th meridian except for 1) operations in production for one year prior to the bill's enactment, and 2) operations which had obtained mining permits before January 4, 1977. The country west of the 100th meridian gets less than 26 inches of rain a year. The intent of the amendment was to protect the river valleys which are essential to livestock and agriculture in this semi-arid region. The original bill protected only those valleys that were already being farmed, but failed to define farming. Environmentalists felt the definition problems would be an administrative nightmare and a constant source of mining conflict between mining interests and environmentalists. Since less than 3% of strippable western coal is located in alluvial valley floors, a blanket ban seemed preferable. The amendment would put no existing operations out of business. The administration supported this amendment. Adopted 170-149. April 29, 1977. YES is the correct vote.