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Administrative and Judicial Review of Interior Department Decisions

David R. Sturges, Proceedings of 31st Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1985)

This paper is primarily directed to a review of certain administrative and judicial review aspects of practice before the Department of Interior, with particular attention to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), and the Minerals Management Service (MMS). References and discussion of administrative law issues in other federal agencies will occasionally be made where appropriate to note similarities or distinctions to substantive or procedural issues of the BLM, OSM, or MMS. Special consideration will be given to the problems and opportunities to establish an administrative record in these agencies' initial decision proceedings which can have significant importance in subsequent administrative and judicial proceedings.

The focus on BLM is to consider the particular aspects of administrative law presented in a public lands resource management agency, while the focus on OSM is to consider the same aspects presented in an environmental protection agency. The focus on MMS is to consider the aspects of enforcing compliance with the terms and conditions of federal oil and gas leases.

To appreciate the evolution of due process in these agencies, it is useful to consider the gradual development of public [3-3] land law from its constitutional origins, the mandating of certain procedural rights by the court