Nevertheless, the California
Supreme Court upheld the
ban against Rinehart’s challenge, breaking
rank with every other court to consider the
question. The Eighth
Supreme Court have
all held that a state goes too far when it
“seeks not merely to supplement the federal
scheme, but to prohibit the very activities
contemplated and authorized by federal law.”
The California Supreme Court also thumbed
its nose at the U.S. Supreme Court, which
thirty years ago held that
states may regulate mining but “a state
environmental regulation so severe” that it
would render mining “commercially
impracticable” would be invalid.
PLF’s petition asks
the Supreme Court to intervene and resolve
this conflict between the California Supreme
Court, on the one hand, and the Eighth
Circuit, Federal Circuit, and Colorado
Supreme Court, on the other. The need for
further review is all the more urgent
because the California Supreme Court’s
decision threatens to inflame
already heated conflicts over
the uses of federal lands.
The paramount authority of the United States
federal government to make all needful rules and
regulations concerning the public domain is long
standing, and irrefutable. The United States has
the “exclusive power” pursuant to the U.S.
Constitution Art. IV § 3, Cl. 2, to both
regulate and dispose of its lands.
The Supreme Court has without fail held that
Congress’ power with respect to the public
domain is “subject to no limitation.” United
States v. Gratiot, 39 U.S. 536-37 (14 Pet. 526)
(1840); United States v. San Francisco, 310 U.S.
16, 29 (1940); Kleppe v. New Mexico, 426 U.S.
The ‘exclusive” power of the United Stats
extends to the regulation, and disposal of
valuable minerals within applicable federal
public domain lands. The General Mining Law of
May 10, 1872, section 2319 of the Revised
Statutes (30 U.S.C. 22 et. seq.) provides that
the exploration, location, and purchase of
valuable mineral deposits shall be "under
regulations prescribed by law".
Section 2478 of the Revised Statutes, as amended
(43 U.S.C. 1201), provides that those
regulations will be issued by the Secretary of
Interior for Bureau of Land Management lands,
and for National Forest lands, by the Secretary
of Agriculture. In short, the scope of the grant
to acquire, and exploit applicable valuable
minerals. As well as water rights on federal
public domain lands pursuant to Mining Act of
1866-1872, is a legal issue which is determined
solely by federal law.
That same “exclusive” power extends to all
waters within federal public domain lands. State
authority to administer water use, and rights
cannot limit the United States constitutional
power to dispose of its lands. E.g., U.S.
Constitution Art. IV § 3, Cl. 2, Kleppe v. New
Mexico, 426 U.S. 529 (1976), Gibson v. Chouteau
80 U.S. 92, 99 (1872)
It is axiomatic that the scope of these federal
grants is a federal question. United States v.
Oregon, 295 U.S. 1, 27-28 (1935); Packer v.
Bird, 137 U.S. 661, 669 (1891). “No State
legislation can interfere with this right or
embarrass its exercise.” Gibson v. Chouteau 80
U.S. 92, 99 (1872); See Hunter v. United States,
388 F. 2d 148, 153-54 989th Cir. 1967).
As a matter of law, the even the temporary
suspension of vested federally granted mining
rights, to proprietors of valid mining claims on
federal public domain lands under 30 U.S.C. §
22, et seq., in California is not something the
state of California can even possibly attempt to
do. Unless it is foolish enough to secede from
the Union, declare war against the United
States, and attempt take federal public domain
lands within the state of California, by force
of arms. In which case, it will doom itself to