National Geographic : 1976 May
Two opposite views. Each expressing a basic human need. Which should have priority? Surely a mountain is a treasure, a sanctuary of trees: Douglas fir, aspen, pine. Snow capped in winter. Home for wildlife, game. A place for hikers, for recreation, solitude. Min ing can change all that. And those who defend the mountain appeal to instincts deep in every heart. Others perceive the mountain's wealth another way: as minerals basic to energy, communications, shelter and transportation require ments, harvesting food. According to the U.S. Dept. of Interior, each year 40,000 pounds of raw minerals are used for each person in the coun try. Reductions in our mineral sup plies would alter our lives drastically. What to do? To mine or not? Realistically, we must have minerals. And we can mine them only where we find them. At the same time we cannot ignore the importance of en vironmental considerations. We must keep the impact within tolerable limits. This may rule out some min ing in certain areas until more ac ceptable technology is developed. In other cases we must be willing to accept the costs of environmental safeguards in the products we buy. We need to consider both sides in sensible land use decisions balancing economic, social and environmental needs. Decisions that seek greater U.S. mineral self-sufficiency by opening all our lands to responsible mineral exploration. Caterpillar depends on many min erals to manufacture its machines machines which in turn are used to mine and transport minerals and reclaim land. We believe that with mature, responsible planning, America can have its minerals and its mountains. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. CaterpillarCatand are TrademarksofCaterpillarTractorCo. Caterpillar,Catand 3 areTrademarks ofCaterpillarTractorCo.