Beckett G. Cantley, Environmental Protection or Mineral Theft: Potential Application of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause to U.S. Termination of Unpatented Mining Claims, Wash. & Lee 4 J. Energy Climate & Env’t 203 (2013).
Summary. This article discusses how the invalidation and withdrawal of an otherwise valid unpatented mining claim may constitute a compensable 5th Amendment taking by the federal government. The article provides some background on federal mining claims, and discusses: (1) the process of locating and maintaining an unpatented claim; (2) the process and requirements of claim patenting; (3) the relative benefits of patenting; (4) the federal land withdrawal power under the Antiquities Act; and, most importantly, (5) 5th Amendment takings issues, including: (a) the effect of increased regulatory compliance costs, in general; (b) the effect of federal land withdrawals of otherwise valid unpatented mining claims; (c) procedures for litigating mining claim contests; and (d) a former unpatented claimholder’s standing to sue or intervene in a mining claim contest.