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The Interior Department witness before this subcommittee
on September 11, 1981, quoted, with approval and as
source, the 1980 Justice Department's page 89 recital.
therefore, that Department will accept the reasoning of Justice
At page 85834 of the Federal Register of Tuesday, December
30, 1980, over the signature of the then Associate Director, BLM, as
the introduction to the appendix to the Federal-Private Cooperative
Coal Leasing Proposal, the readers of that official government
"This country has vast reserves of coal. Its coal
"The 'checkerboard' pattern of ownership occurs in
When a coal deposit underlies unleased Federal lands
Also, the time needed to
ing adopted by both Justice and Interior with respect to anti
competitive aspects inherent in permitting railroads to lease
federal-railroad checkerboarded lands
we urge this subcommittee
to reject repeal of section 2 (c) of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920,
as is proposed by s. 1542.
Mr. Lawrence, with his neighbors, stands ready now,
the past, to fully participate in an approach at cooperative leasing of
these checkerboarded areas, with these two qualifications:
First, that the rights and interests of all parties
including the private surface owners of split estate lands
be fully and equitably recognized and reflected in any final
cooperative leasing or pre-leasing plan; and
Second, that the present prohibition of section 2 (c)
unqualifiedly construed by Justice to apply to railroads and
their subsidiaries, directly or by joint venture be left as it has been for more than sixty-one years, at least with respect
to checkerboarded lands.
A concluding reminder seems in order: with section 2 (c)
still on the books, and enforced as it was intended to be, the
land grant railroads can still lease their interspersed coal lands
cooperatively, or uncooperatively.
And they will then be assured
of both coal production revenues and substantial haulage revenues
from transporting the coal produced from the checkerboarded areas.
On behalf of my clients and myself, please accept our thanks for the courtesy extended to us by subcommittee members and
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