1977 Scorecard Vote
(S. 7). The vote is on the Bumpers amendment to delete from the bill a requirement that surface owners must give their written consent before federally owned coal could be mined beneath their land, and to set compensation for damages to surface owners. In the past, the federal government opened up these western lands for homesteading, while retaining rights to the coal underneath. Yet the farmers and ranchers who settled here little dreamed that someday their land might be ruined. The amendment would have protected their rights and probably prevented strip mining in some areas. A National Academy of Science study concluded that most western states did not have enough water to support large scale coal development and that some areas would be impossible to reclaim for agriculture because strip mining would destroy the soil and the aquifers. The environmentalists and the President opposed the amendment. Adopted 44-32; May 20, 1977. No is the correct vote.