Maurice Tanner

141 I.B.L.A. 373 (1997)

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Maurice Tanner

United States Interior Board of Land Appeals
141 I.B.L.A. 373 (1997)

  • Written by Tanya Munson, JD

Facts

Under the Stock Raising Homestead Act (SRHA), the government reserved all the coal and other minerals present in coal or mineral deposits on land that was patented under the act. Maurice Tanner (plaintiff) owned the surface estate of land pursuant to a title traced to a patent under the SRHA. Tanner had removed humate from the land. Humate was a material derived from weathered coal as well as from shales and claystones that was used as an additive in drilling muds and soil conditioners and for potential agricultural benefits. Since 1979, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had prohibited the extraction of humate. The BLM claimed that Tanner was trespassing because humate was a part of the minerals of the land owned by the federal government. Tanner argued that humate was an organic substance that should not have been considered reserved as a mineral. Tanner argued that humate was a substance like peat, and because peat was organic in nature and not considered a mineral, humate should not be considered a mineral either. Tanner challenged the decision of the BLM to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burski, J.)

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