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Multiple Use Versus Dominant Use: Can Federal Land Use Planning Fulfill the Principles of Multiple Use For Mineral Development?

Constance E. Brooks, Proceedings of 33d Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1987)

The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are writing land use plans1 that systematically close federal land to mining and mineral leasing or impose new and costly conditions for access. The decisions made in these plans erode the principle that the mineral estate is the dominant estate to which reasonable access must be afforded. Given the value of the resources involved, these plans promise to have a revolutionary effect on future mineral exploration and development on federal land. This paper will discuss the statutory minerals policies and their relation to multiple use management direction for Forest Service and BLM land. The treatment accorded mineral uses in Forest Service and BLM land use plans will be compared as to whether the land use plans meet congressional policies.