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South Dakota Mining Ass'n, Inc. v. Lawrence Cnty.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
155 F.3d 1005 (1998)
The voters of Lawrence County (County) (defendant) in South Dakota approved an ordinance that prohibited new or amended permits for surface metal-mining extraction in the Spearfish Canyon Area (canyon). The canyon included approximately 40,000 acres, 90 percent of which was federal land located in a national forest. Mining activities were conducted on the federal land. Surface metal mining was the only possible method for mineral extraction in the canyon, because the minerals were located at the earth’s surface. South Dakota Mining Association, Inc. and other mining companies (plaintiffs) challenged the ordinance in federal district court. The district court found that the federal Mining Act of 1872 (Act), 30 U.S.C. §§ 21-26, preempted the ordinance. Jack Cole (defendant), a citizen, intervened and appealed on behalf of the County. Cole asserted that the ordinance was a reasonable environmental regulation that was not preempted by the Act. The basis for Cole’s assertion was that the ordinance banned only one type of mining within a limited area, and did not prevent the accomplishment of the Act’s purposes and objectives.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hansen, J.)
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