PETITION OF THE FIFTY-SIXTH LEGISLATUREFOR A CALL OF SPECIAL SESSION
WHEREAS, the 1995 Legislature enacted House Bill No. 338 amending theMineral Mines Reclamation Act and enumerating effective standards and requirementsfor the reclamation of lands disturbed by hard rock mining; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature intended that the Mineral Mines Reclamation Act, asamended, would continue to require the reclamation of open pits and rock faces butwould not mandate backfilling of open pits because that activity almost always makesthe mining uneconomical and discourages mining which is an activity beneficial to theeconomy of Montana and necessary to meet the needs of society, and prevents lateraccess to the mineral deposit; and
WHEREAS, the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council foundin 1979, and reaffirmed in 1999, that backfilling open pit mines would be of uncertainenvironmental and social benefit and that backfilling should not be mandated becauseit is often economically impractical; and
WHEREAS, in National Wildlife Federation v. Montana Department of StateLands, Cause No. CDV-92-486 (1st Judicial District 2000), the District Court held thateconomic feasibility is not relevant and that backfilling of open pit mines is requiredunder section 82-4-336, MCA; and
WHEREAS, Article V, section 6, of The Constitution of the State of Montanaand section 5-3-101, MCA, provide that the Legislature may be convened in specialsession at the request of a majority of the members.
NOW, THEREFORE, WE THE UNDERSIGNED, being a majority of the membersof the Fifty-Sixth Legislature, pursuant to Article V, section 6, of the MontanaConstitution and section 5-3-101, MCA, hereby convene the Fifty-Sixth Legislatureinto special session in Helena, to run concurrently with the special session beginningMay 8, 2000, called by the Governor.
The special session hereby convened shall consider legislation to clarify andrequire that economic feasibility and environmental soundness must be considered indeveloping and reviewing a reclamation plan and that backfilling of open pit mines isnot required.