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LeFaivre v. Environmental Quality Council

Citation: 17 ELR 20835
No. No. 86-240, 735 P.2d 428/(Wyo., 04/09/1987)

The court holds that the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council's denial of an application to remove large blocks of rock from public lands in southern Wyoming was supported by substantial evidence and is not preempted by federal law. The court first holds that college professors were competent to file a protest to the mining application and to testify at the hearing held by the Council. The professors, who testified that the proposed removal operations would damage the Natural Corrals area's unique geological and archaeological value, were qualified to be witnesses as Wyoming residents and concerned citizens. The court holds that notice of the hearing was sufficient. The court next holds that a prior special area designation is not required before the Council can disapprove a mining application based on site-sensitive statutory criteria, such as archaeological and wildlife values. The court holds that the Council properly found that reclamation of the site is impossible, since the cutting and hauling of the rock formations would destroy the area's special value. The court holds that the Council's authority to regulate small mine sites on federal land is not preempted by federal mining law. A cooperative agreement between the United States Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming authorizes state regulation. Finally, the court holds that Council's decision was supported by substantial evidence.

Counsel for Appellant
Robert C. LeFaivre, pro se
General Delivery, Little America WY 82929
(307) 875-2400

Counsel for Appellee
A. G. McClintock, Attorney General; Steven R. Shanahan, Sr. Ass't Attorney General
State Capitol, Cheyenne WY 82002
(307) 777-7841

Before BROWN, C.J., and THOMAS, CARDINE, URBIGKIT and MACY, JJ.