National Geographic : 1976 Jul
Different views. Polarized. Each seems true, yet in conflict. Yes, mining disturbs the land. Sur face mines overturn vegetation, destroy wild life shelter, disrupt farming, sometimes divert and con taminate streams. Deep mining leaves other scars: waste piles, abandoned shafts. Concerned people fear that mineral mining could de stroy the beauty of our land. Other thoughtful people point to the essentiality of minerals. We must have them for transportation, com munications, for food production, houses. And we can only mine these minerals where they are found. We could, it's true, import more of our minerals. But this just moves the problem into someone else's back yard. And ignores the economics of developing our own natural wealth. What can we do? We must have minerals. So we must have mines. But we must also protect the environ ment. We can't mine everywhere. But we should, as a people, support land use decisions that realistically balance economic, social and environmental needs. Decisions that seek greater U.S. mineral self-sufficiency by open ing all our lands to exploration and possible development. And we must be willing to pay the price of restor ing them to other useful purposes when mining is finished. With intelligent planning we can have our countryside and our minerals. Raw materials are vital to the pro duction of Caterpillar machines and vice versa. Our machines mine the land and help reclaim it. We believe both mining and reclamation are essential. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. LH CATERPILLAR Caterpillar,Catand 3 are Trademarksof CaterpillarTractorCo.