In the 1960’s, Basin Electric became the first utility in the nation to require coal mine reclamation of their fuel suppliers – long before the law required. In 1967, the members affirmed this commitment in their Ideals and Objectives: “The energy industry must do all that is feasible to minimize the negative impacts on the environment.”
This week’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to a story featured in the July 1968 Basin Electric Power Cooperative Report. The story tells of restoring land strip mined by the Truax-Traer Coal Company (Basin Electric’s former coal supplier).
Basin Electric’s contract with Truax-Traer required that mined land be returned to a condition of “rolling countryside” and that some experimental planting be conducted by the coal company.
Work began in April 1968 on experimental seeding of spoil bank land at Truax-Traer’s Glenharold Mine.
In efforts of land restoration, sixty acres were fertilized with ammonium nitrate in preparation for planting. Then, more than 60 acres were planted with high quality western wheat, green needle grass, and sweet clover. Approximately 3,500 trees were also planted in a 60-acre tract. A thousand pines and juniper, and green ash, American elm, Russian olive, and Siberian elm were included in the tree planting.
At the same time Truax-Traer was working to reclaim the land, under their contract with Basin Electric, the legislative research sub-committee on natural resources began drafting a bill on spoil bank rehabilitation that would be submitted to the 1969 North Dakota Legislature.
Coal mine reclamation later became a law in 1970.
Be good to the land, it’ll return the favor. Basin Electric recognized the importance of this idea and has continued to be stewards of the environment for more than 50 years.