Back to Publications

Mineral and Oil and Gas Development in Wilderness Areas and Other Specially Managed Federal Lands in the United States

John L. Watson, Proceedings of 29th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1983)

This article provides an overview of federal law dictating whether and under what conditions specially managed federal lands may be open to mineral and oil and gas development. The lands discussed include wilderness areas, lands under study for inclusion in the wilderness system, wildlife refuges, game ranges, coordination lands, sanctuaries, parks, monuments, recreation areas, tar sands areas, military lands, wild and scenic river areas, power sites, reclamation withdrawals, rights-of-way, resource areas, and other miscellaneous federal areas. Part VII outlines mineral development rights in Alaska. This article does not address mineral or oil and gas development for lands within Indian reservations or the outer continental shelf.

Part I reviews principles with general applicability to all the areas. Parts II through VII then discuss each special area.