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Avenues to Affect Proposed Mineral Development: An `environmentalist's' Perspective

Robert J. Golten, Western Land Use Regulation and Mined Land Reclamation (1979)

An important function of the country's largest private conservation organization, the National Wildlife Federation, is to provide legal representation to otherwise unrepresented groups and citizens concerned about national resource protection in different areas of the country. To accomplish this, natural resource law clinics have been set up at several law schools across the country, which—among other things—help train law students in natural resource law and litigation.

A recently-established NWF Clinic located in Boulder has been concerned with a wide variety of issues, including Colorado front range air pollution, timber management and road construction in National Forests in Wyoming and South Dakota, water resource projects in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, mining issues in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Arizona and New Mexico, and fish and wildlife protection throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Operating with a staff of two lawyers, and a group of law students, the Colorado Clinic has been spread thin. Nonetheless, it has been involved in, or on the edge of, several mining controversies in the past 13 months. In the process, we have acquired some insights into, and a working knowledge of, the interplay between “public rights” accorded under federal and state environmental statutes, and “private rights” arising out of federal mining law.

In the spirit of