OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT
Congressional Records - May 25, 1977
Following is the May 25, 1977 Congressional Record. The text below is compiled from the Office of Surface Mining's COALEX data base, not an original printed document, and the reader is advised that coding or typographical errors could be present.
123 CONG.REC. S8672
May 25, 1977
May 25, 1977
Mr. JOHNSTON. Mr. President, I wish to clarify my position on S. 7, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, as adopted by the Senate Friday, May 20, 1977.
S8672 In committee, I voted against reporting S. 7 to the floor. My opposition was based on the presence of the surface owner consent provision in section 515 of the reported bill. The issue of surface owner consent has been divisive and controversial each time the surface mining legislation has been considered by the Senate. I have always believed that surface owner consent would give rise to windfall profits and disruptive interruptions in the development of our federally owned coal resources. I introduced an amendment to S. 7 which proposed generous treatment of surface owners, but would not have required their consent as a prerequisite to mining federally owned coal resources. After long debate on Thursday, my amendment, which was cosponsored by Senator BUMPERS, was defeated.
S8672 Although consideration of S. 7 continued on Friday, I was not able to be present Friday due to prior commitments in Louisiana. When I left the Senate on Thursday, S. 7 contained a surface owner consent provision and I could not, therefore, vote for the bill. The distinguished majority leader, my good friend Senator BYRD, graciously consented to refrain from voting in favor of the legislation on Friday in order to announce with me a live pair.
S8672 Friday, Senators BUMPERS, JACKSON, and NELSON offered an amendment which proposed generous treatment of surface owners in lieu of requiring surface owner consent as a prerequisite to the mining of federally owned coal. Had I been present on Friday, I would have supported that excellent amendment which was adopted by the Senate. The adoption of that amendment improved the bill substantially. While I continue to disagree with certain provisions of the bill, I would have voted for final passage of S. 7 as amended by the Bumpers-Jackson-Nelson amendment.
S8672 Mr. President, I thank the distinguished majority leader for allowing me to pair with him on this issue. All of us. are keenly aware of and thankful for his efforts to accommodate each of us.However, due to the change in circumstances on Friday, I ask unanimous consent that the Permanent RECORD of Friday, May 20, 1977, reflect that, had I been present, I would have voted in favor of final passage of S. 7, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
S8672 The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.