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Administrative Law Practice before the Department of the Interior

David R. Sturges, Natural Resources Administrative Law and Procedure (1981)

The scope of this paper is primarily directed to review certain administrative law aspects of practice before the Department of the Interior, with particular attention to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM). References and discussion of administrative law issues in other federal agencies will occasionally be made where appropriate to note similarities or distinctions to substance or procedural issues of the BLM and OSM. Special consideration will be given to the problems and opportunities to establish an administrative record in these agencies' initial decision proceedings which can have significant importance in subsequent administrative and judicial review proceedings.

The focus on BLM is to consider the particular aspects of administrative law presented in a public lands/resource management agency, while the focus on OSM is to consider the same aspects presented in an environmental protection agency. To consider the evolution of administrative law matters in the Interior Department, initial consideration will be given the work of the Public Lands Law Review Commission (PLLRC)1 and its 1970 report2 which substantially altered the administrative law procedures of matters before the BLM prior to the enactment of the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA).3 The passage of the Surface Min