API-IPAA Comments to OIRA on Proposed New Rules Governing Operations on Private Minerals in Parks and Refuges
API-IPAA comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs regarding proposed rules governing operations on private minerals in parks and refuges.
API and IPAA understand that your office is reviewing rules proposed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Services) to regulate operations on privately held minerals that lie beneath lands administered by the Services as units in the National Park System or as National Wildlife Refuges. Our more detailed comments to each rule as originally proposed are attached for your reference.
Our comments proceed from the well-established principle of common law that when an individual owns the minerals of a parcel but not the surface, the mineral rights owner is entitled to reasonable use of the surface to recover the minerals. In the case of both Services, as the systems of parks and monuments or wildlife refuges have expanded over the years from lands retained by the federal government in the West to include units created through the acquisition of surface lands from private interests in other regions of the country, there are many instances where mineral interests are retained by private owners or were previously severed from the surface estates acquired.
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