Yount v. Salazar

933 F. Supp. 2d 1215 (2013)

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Yount v. Salazar

United States District Court for the District of Arizona
933 F. Supp. 2d 1215 (2013)

  • Written by Tanya Munson, JD


Congress’s authority to manage and regulate the use of public lands originated in the Property Clause of the Constitution. Congress was vested with the power to make and dispose of all necessary rules and regulations concerning property belonging to the United States. In 1964, Congress formed the Public Land Law Review Commission (the commission) to study existing laws and procedures relating to the administration of public lands. The commission found that the roles of Congress and the executive branch regarding land policy were not carefully defined and that the executive used its withdrawal authority in an uncontrolled and haphazard manner. In response to the commission’s findings, Congress enacted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The FLPMA spelled out Congress’s authority to withdraw or otherwise set aside public land for specified limited-purpose use, and Congress made a specific delegation of authority to the executive as to the types of withdrawals and set-asides that may be affected without legislative action. The FLPMA applied this two-part approach to public land management, stating that Congress may exercise its constitutional authority to withdraw federal lands for specified purposes and that Congress delineates the extent to which the executive may withdraw lands without legislative action. Several sections of the FLPMA reserved to Congress exclusive authority over public land actions, including preventing the executive from modifying congressional withdrawals from national monuments or wildlife refuges. Section 240(a) of the FLPMA provided that the executive is authorized to make and modify withdrawals per provisions in that section. Section 240(b) set forth the procedures the executive had to follow, and § 240(c) set forth the procedures for executive withdrawals over 5,000 acres. Section 240(c) contained an unconstitutional legislative-veto provision. The National Mining Association and Nuclear Energy Institute and Northwest Mining Association (NMA) (plaintiffs) argued that because the legislative-veto provision was unconstitutional and was not severable, the entire section should be invalidated. NMA filed a motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Campbell, J.)

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