I have watched with interest the public discussion regarding restoration of mined lands in Wyoming and the suggestion that some companies may not live up to their obligations. As a rancher myself, and as a representative of ranchers and agricultural interests, I recognize the importance of maintaining the land we call home. Our wide open spaces in the West are the heritage we have handed down from one generation to the next. The land helps sustain our lives, from agricultural production to wildlife habitat to recreational use.
Having visited several Wyoming coal mines over the past 20 years, I have been impressed with the mining operations, but more importantly, as a landowner, with the quality of land restoration being undertaken by Wyoming mining companies. The reclamation specialists who work in Wyoming mines have a stake in making sure the land is restored for future use. Many were born and raised in Wyoming, and they care about the land, just as I do.
When I last visited a mine site, I saw acres and acres of restored land within the mine borders. I noticed restoration being conducted in step with the mining process to restore natural habitat. Water channels were reestablished and forage was growing abundantly. Antelope, rabbits and other wildlife were enjoying the abundance of forage on the previously mined land. Livestock were being returned to areas where they had grazed prior to mining. A more casual observer might not be able to tell the difference between land that was mined and land that is native habitat.
- On March 28, 2016