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Yount v. Salazar

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20063
Nos. 11-8171 et al., (D. Ariz., 03/20/2013) (Campbell, J.)

A district court held that FLPMA §204(c), which allows Congress to block DOI withdrawals of new mining claims in excess of 5,000 acres through a resolution of both houses, is unconstitutional. In 2012, DOI withdrew more than one million acres of federal land from mining location and entry in northern Arizona under FLPMA §204. Because Congress did not exercise its authority to void the withdrawal under §204(c), the withdrawal therefore remains in effect. Mining associations argued the legislative veto provision enabling Congress to block DOI withdrawals is unconstitutional and that the withdrawal should therefore be vacated. The court agreed that §204(c) is unconstitutional because it allows Congress to act without adhering to normal constitutional requirements. But given FLPMA's severability clause and the fact that the statute remains fully operative without the legislative veto, the veto is severable. In addition, the DOI Secretary's large tract withdrawal authority remains in place even after invalidation of the legislative veto. The court, therefore, denied the mining associations' motions for partial summary judgment.