1982 Scorecard Vote
The vote is on the Bumpers (D-AR) amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 7356), to delete $2.13 million from the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in order to delay two scheduled western coal lease sales. Though directly affecting only these two sales, this was in effect a confidence vote on Interior Secretary Watt's energy leasing policies. A few days before, the House removed money for the sales, pending a Congressional investigation of whether BLM had been mismanaging coal lease sales and failing to get a fair market value for its coal. In the largest coal lease sale in history, BLM sold 8 of 11 leases without competitive bids, and received only 25% of what comparable coal had sold for in private sales two years earlier.
The two sales covered by this amendment involved billions of tons of coal in Montana, North Dakota, and New Mexico, where thousands of acres of fragile, semi-arid land will be strip mined once the coal is leased. New coal fired power plants near the mines would also violate federal air standards. There is now a glut of coal on the market and no need to lease any more until we can ensure more responsible development of this public, non-renewable resource on public lands. Amendment rejected 47-48; December 14, 1982. YES is the pro-environmental vote. (A House-Senate Conference Committee compromised on the issue, allowing only one of the two leases to go forward.)