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2014 Mining and Public Land Law Update

Michael J. Sherman, Proceedings of 60th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (2014)

This chapter summarizes the key judicial, legislative, and administrative developments in mining and public land law since the 2013 Rocky Mountain. Mineral Law Institute.
§ 14.02 Judicial Developments
[1] Federal Court Decisions
[a] United States Holds No Interest in Abandoned Railroad Rights-of-Way
In Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States,1 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the United States holds no interest in abandoned railroad rights-of-way (ROW) originally granted under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 (1875 Act).2 …
[b] Solicitor's Opinion on Mineral-Deposit-Only Patents in Wilderness Areas Trumps BLM Policy
In McMaster v. United States,12 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) reliance on a U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Solicitor's Opinion instructing BLM to issue patents for only the mineral deposits of mining claims located within a wilderness area. …
[c] Twenty-Year Delay in Processing Mill Site Patent Held Unreasonable
In Sims v. Ellis,30 the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho held that BLM unreasonably delayed its decision to act on a patent for mill site claims by processing the application for 20 years. …
[d] Claim Jumpers' Lode Claim Invalid Due to Trespass on Overlapping Placer Claim
In Andersen v. Echols,39 the U.S. Distric