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A Critique of Procedures Followed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Processing of Mineral Patent Applications

John B. Lonergan, Mineral Patenting Procedures (1975)

The Constitution of the United States gave Congress the power to legislate with respect to the disposition of federal public lands. Congress assigned the responsibility to the Secretary of the Interior and he delegated the responsibility to the Director of the Bureau of Land Management. The Director, in turn, has delegated the matter to State Directors and personnel within State Offices of the Bureau.

Thus it is that officials in State Offices of the Bureau have been empowered to consider and act upon mineral patent applications. The Secretary, by regulation, has implimented pertinent statutes, and his regulations, together with decisions of federal courts and opinions of the Department Solicitor, form general guides and standards to which the mineral patent applicant must conform. Detailed procedures and guides are found in the Bureau's Manuals.

Congress established certain requirements for the claiming of mineral deposits and land needed for mill site purposes, and [17-2] has permitted the states in which the federal public land mining laws apply to legislate on procedural and other associated matters if Congress has not already occupied the field by its statutes. It is essential that the patent applicant should have state and local requirements in mind, for his mineral patent application must show that he has the possessory right to the claim in virtue of