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State Lands Abandoned Mine and Reclamation Bureau data, nearly six hundred (600) unreclaimed abandoned hardrock mines exist in Montana's portion of Greater Yellowstone. In 1989, out of a total annual reclamation fund of 6.5 million dollars, only 2 million dollars were spent on reclaiming non-coal sites in the state - a fraction of what is needed for effective reclamation according to Bureau officials.

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Data from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality on the state's Abandoned Mine Land Program show that thirty five (35) known unreclaimed abandoned mine sites have been inventoried in Wyoming's portion of Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In addition, on the old Kirwin Mining District, flanked by the spectacular Washakie wilderness on the east flank of the Absaroka Mountains on the Shoshone Forest, little has been done to address the chronic problems of water quality, such as high levels of zinc, copper, aluminum, nickel, lead, sulfate, barium, and iron in a tributary to the wood River. Not only is this situation diminishing the quality of this portion of the Washakie wilderness, it could pose some level of potential risk to the residents of Meeteetse who derive their drinking water from this source.

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In Idaho, which lacks coal resources and an Abandoned Mine Lands Program, abandoned mines are not being assessed and reclaimed. An abandoned mining district, consisting now mostly of old shafts and structures, and other scars of placer and lode gold mining activity, is located at the base of Caribou Mountain, in eastern Idaho. Surrounding the old Caribou Mining District, parts of the Caribou Forest have again become so wild that they are under consideration by Congress for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Furthermore, the area drains into Gray's Lake National wildlife Refuge, where water fowl abound, and endangered Whooping cranes are being recovered in a Sandhill crane foster parent program.

It is a land of spectacular views, and the headwaters of some of the best elk and deer habitat in this part of Idaho; but it is a land unnecessarily marred by past mining activities, and reclamation failures.

We have previously discussed before this committee the problems of reclamation in Greater Yellowstone, particularly in the alpine zones. Here, we have the benefit of twenty five (25) years of research by the USDA Forest Service Intermountain Research Station on alpine revegetation efforts in the wake of mining activity. This experience shows that, even using the most progressive techniques, reclamation of high elevation areas is at best difficult, anā at worst all but impossible. Limiting factors include short, cool growing seasons, strong winds, yearround frosts, a limited pool of adapted plant species, as well as the character of the spoils material, which is often acidic, low

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healthy natural environment. According to figures derived from the states of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Local services, including wholesale and retail trade, health and education, outdoor recreation related employment, government jobs, real estate and other service sector employment now provides nearly seventy (70) percent of all jobs in the Ecosystem. Non-labor related income, such as retirement payments, dividend or insurance payments, have increased to the point where they are now nearly three-quarters (3/4) as large as all wage and salary income in Greater Yellowstone. In addition, recreation has increased to the extent that it now provides four out of five forest related jobs. And, in 1988 alone, tourism pumped $140 million just into the Montana portion of Greater Yellowstone.

By contrast, in 1989 in twenty Ecosystem counties in aggregate, mining and oil and gas employed five percent (58) of Greater Yellowstone's work force down eleven percent (113) from twenty years ago. And, while mining output rose between 1977 and 1986 by 41%, total employment dropped by 1.28. In Greater Yellowstone specifically, income flowing from mining, timber, oil and gas and manufacturing, has dropped 33% over the last ten years.

our intent in providing these figures is to clearly show that in Greater Yellowstone, the spectacular wild landscape and hunting and fishing opportunities attract and hold a population that wants to live and be productive here. Natural amenities make this area an attractive place to live, and that is the stimulus to economic development. In addition, farning and ranching, also important economic activities in a number of Ecosystem counties, depend on sources of clean water, healthy range and well protected soils.

If the economic future of this region is to be sound, we cannot kill the goose that has laid the golden egg Greater Yellowstone's wiialands and natural amenities. We must ensure that mining activities, which contribute a tiny proportion of the income and employment opportunities in the region, are done only to the extent and in such a way that is compatible with maintaining the integrity of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosysten. 3) Looming Problems in Greater Yellowstone: caribou Mountain Lidaho), New World Protect (Montana), and imigrant Gulch (Montanale

In two days, you will hear detailed comments submitted by a number of Montana activists and citizens regarding the environmental problems posed by a number of mines in Greater Yellowstone, including the Stillwater Mine, the proposed East Boulder Mine, and the proposed Noranda Mine at the border of Yellowstone Park. In an effort not to steal their thunder, I will not discuss these projects in great detail, but rather

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review mining trends in Greater Yellowstone, and then touch on three potentially disastrous mining proposals in Greater Yellowstone.

There are over 7,000 mineral claims currently on the National Forests of Greater Yellowstone. These claims are shown on the attached map. Mining exploration and development pressures are escalating on the northern portion of Greater Yellowstone, where two major mines are now operating (Jardine and stillwater). A smelter was recently constructed, and seven new exploration projects are underway for gold, silver, platinum, palladium and chrome in exceedingly fragile and scenic areas.

Unfortunately, the 1872 Mining Law permits no prior evaluation of other resource values in an Ecosystem where wildlife, recreation and watersheds are the features that put the region on the map. In three areas, Caribou Mountain, Emigrant Guich and the New World Project, reclamation will be utterly impossible, and the regional economy and the health of Greater Yellowstone will be severely compromised - yet presently the government cannot "just say no.

On the Caribou, this summer Newmont Exploration Ltd. plans to construct 1.4 miles of new road into a roadless area on top of Caribou Mountain that is presently under consideration by Congress for inclusion in the National wilderness Preservation Systen. Not only would the exploration proposal permanently eliminate any possibility of protecting this area as Wilderness, it would be essentially unreclaimable. The Forest Service has acknowledged that the area's natural steep slopes and unstable soils could not be reclaimed no matter what measures were pursued. The agency recognizes that as a result of road construction much sediment would reach the streams, due to the extremely high landslide potential in the area, which frequently slumps even when undisturbed. Thus, Caribou Mountain, the most outstanding scenic feature on the landscape, would be permanently marred.

In addition, mining activities could adversely affect the fine-spotted cutthroat trout, a species designated as a species of Special concern by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. This species has already been greatly reduced in its range as a result of extensive habitat alteration. Furthermore, mining activity could affect the avifauna of the Gray's Lake wildlife Refuge, especially rare and endangered Trumpeter swans, Whooping cranes and Peregrine falcons, which use this area. Thus, the values for which Gray's Lake Refuge was set aside might be greatly diminished by the proposed mining activity. Yet, under the present mining system, none of these values are taken into account.

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PERSONAL INCOME (In Millions of 1987 Dollars)




Non-farm Proprietors Mining, ou & Gas, Moto

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69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87


Data compiled from unpublished Regional Information Service (REIS) data of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Analyses courtesy of T.M. Power, University of Montana

(* Manufacturing includes lumber production)

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The proposals by Pegasus Gold and Montana Mining and Reclamation to conduct exploration in the Emigrant Gulch areas has raised serious questions about the future of this spectacular area in Paradise Valley, Montana. Emigrant Gulch is a one hundred year old mining district which has since become a mecca for recreationists and travelers to Yellowstone Park. It lies on the flank of the stunning face of the Absaroka Mountains, and is host to a diversity of big game species and other wildlife.

It developed, the nine could require an improved access road through chico Hot Springs, which is one of the most popular resorts in the valley. Resort owners are concerned that the nine would greatly reduce the area's attractiveness and potentially kill the resort, as a result of heavy traffic through the middle of their facility. Second, the nine and accompanying road construction wouia be essentially unreclaimable, due to the requirement of cutting into nearly verticle slopes. And yet, despite this fact, and the overwhelming dependency of local economy on recreation and tourism, this nine would be allowed to go forward under direction of the 1872 Mining Law.

In sum, if the 1872 Mining Law is not fully reformed, we will continue to create a future legacy of pollution and unreclaimed mines which will have adverse affects on Greater Yellowstone -- Caribou Mountain, Emigrant Gulch and cooke city are only a few harbingers of things to come. 4) Comments on H.R. 918.

Turning now to the specific provisions of H.R. 918, we would like to commend several features of the bill:

1. The designation of certain lands as off limits to mining
activities, such as Wilderness Study Areas, lands
recommended for wilderness designation, and lands in wild
and Scenic Study areas (Section 204(1)-(3)); however, we
would also urge that habitat of rare, threatened and
endangered species be granted this same protection;
2. The provision for citizen access to courts to enforce
the act (Section 202(e)), although citizens must be able to
enforce provisions of the Act against all persons who
violate the Act, not just the Secretaries of Interior and
3. The increase of the annual cost of holding a claim to
discourage speculative holding of large blocks of claims
(Section 104); and
4. The elimination of the "discover" test for determining
if a claim is valid. The profitability of a mineral deposit

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