?A number of conservation organizations have protested Bethlehem's determination to destroy this land. The enclosed copy of a letter from Dr. Elvis J. Stahr of the National Audubon Society to Mr. S.S. Cort, President of Bethlehem Steel, is illustrative of their concern.
President Nixon has-recently expressed deep concern for the growing damage to our environment, including the land, air and water. If Bethelhem strip mines according to its plan it will have done tremendous damage to the environment in a large area of Kentucky. The forests will be uprooted and destroyed. The creeks will be silted with mud. Natural beauty will turn into man-made ugliness. Practically all the benefits from the operation will leave Kentucky and, as usual, we will keep the problems. Very few Bethlehem share holders live in this state.
I urge you to call upon Bethelhem to abstain from this act of greed. The corporation's original intent to preserve the land was laudable and the company should be encouraged to return to it. It is probable that a request from your office to this effect would have a strongly persuasive influence with the company's directors.
If the company is determined to destroy the land for this tiny outcrop of coal and to ignore the wishes and welfare of Kentuckians, I urge you to call a public hearing at which conservationists can be heard as well as coal company officials. The whole problem of what is happening to our land and what will happen as a result of the proposed stripping should be aired. Representatives of the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, the Garden Clubs of America, the Isaac Walton Leageu, the Soil Conservation Society of America, the Natural Resources Commission of the Council of the Southern Mountains and similar groups should be invited to attend and participate. A decision to tear up a large area of this state and to disrupt its streams and wild life should not be made in secrecy and without public participation.
Hoping you will concur in the foregoing, I am
Very truly yours, Harry M. Caudill