Effects of mountain top strip mining may not be reversible according to this study published in the January 2010 edition of Science Magazine(requires paid subscription) With a local economy dependent upon timber and fishing, the detrimental effects of strip mining may have long term consequences for future generations.

…mine-related contaminants persist in streams well below valley fills, forests are destroyed, headwater streams are lost, and biodiversity is reduced; all of these demonstrate that MTM/VF causes significant environmental damage despite regulatory requirements to minimize impacts. Current mitigation strategies are meant to compensate for
lost stream habitat and functions but do not; water-quality degradation caused by mining activities is neither prevented nor corrected during reclamation or mitigation.
Clearly, current attempts to regulate MTM/VF practices are inadequate. Mining permits are being issued despite the preponderance of scientific evidence that impacts are pervasive
and irreversible and that mitigation cannot compensate for losses.

If this is true then no bond posted by the ORC (loosely pictured above) will cover the downside catastrophic calamity caused by strip mining the Seven Devils corridor. There is no need for the County to rush to an agrement. All the urgency is on the part of ORC and they keep waving a promise of jobs as a carrot, or more accurately a carat, to excite the locals into privatizing their public resources.

Interestingly, the model used by ORC and the 3.5% royalty is almost identical to the typical big wind farm developers promising jobs and offering to pay farmers a 3.5% lease to site the towers. Community owned and managed wind farms provide more local revenue and operate at higher efficiencies than the corporate model. Read a supporting study Does it Matter Who Owns the Wind in Big Stone Montana?