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Natural Resources Law
University of Kansas School of Law
Coggins, George Cameron

Federal Public Land & Resources Law
Prof. George Coggins
 
Class Materials:
–         Federal Public Land & Resources Law, Coggins, Wilkinson, Leshy, 5th Ed.
o       Book is divided into 2 parts
§         Part 1 (Ch. 1-5) – General Applications
·        Ch. 1 – Intro
·        Ch. 2 – History
·        Ch. 3 – Constitutional Authority
·        Ch. 4 – Executive Authority
·        Ch. 5 – Overarching Legal Doctrines (NEPA, ESA, etc.)
§         Part 2 (Ch. 6-) – Specific Resources
·        Ch. 6 – Water
·        Ch. 7 – Minerals
o       Pt. 1 – Hard Rock Minerals
o       Pt. 2 – Liquid/Gas minerals
o       Pt. 3 – Split Estates
·        Ch. 8 – Timber
·        Ch. 9 – Range (grass and other flora)
·        Ch. 10 – Wildlife
·        Ch. 11 – Recreation
·        Ch. 12 – Preservation
 
–         Modern Public Land Law, “In a Nutshell” – Good Handbook for Questions
Introduction
Field of Public Land Law
Federal Lands & Resources
30% of the US is public (govt owned) land
–         Primarily west of the 100th Meridian
o       Rain drops drastically west of the 100th Meridian (less than 15”/yr)
–         National Parks, National Forests, National Grasslands, National Refuges, Indian Reservations, etc.
 
Age of Disposition (1700s – 1872 or 1920s or 1964??)
–         US Govt attempts to dispose of federal land
o       Encouraging homesteads, etc.
§         Rewarding war veterans, disposition through railroads, given to individual states
·        E.g., Merrill Act of 1860 – for support of A&M Colleges
o       Worked well until 100th Meridian
§         Too dry and farms failed
o       1872:
§         Establishment of Yellowstone National Park
o       1930s: Depression
§         US ‘bought out’ many homesteaders and returned their farms to National Grasslands
·        Cimarron National Grasslands (Morton Co. KS)
o       1964: Wilderness Act
§         Limited usage on National Lands (defined as ‘wilderness’) to primitive, non-motorized usage
 
US Survey System:
–         Units:
o       Township = 36 Sections (6 high, 6 wide)
§         Numbered 1 – 36
·        06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01
·        07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12
·        18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13
·        19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
·        30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25
·        31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36
o       Section (1 mile X 1 mile) = 640 acres
§         Easily (and evenly) divisible
§         Good for land descriptions
·        NE ½ of the NE ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 10
 
Educational Disposition:
–         Annexation of Ohio – 1803
o       Fed Govt granted Sections 16 & 36 to the State Govt for the benefit of K-12 education
o       This continued for the remainder of the states that joined the US after 1862
 
Acquisition of Public Domain
England had granted charters to individuals and compan

oubled in size!
 
…at around the same time Mexico overthrew Spain
–         This left the Spanish in Florida very vulnerable
–         Andrew Jackson invaded and hung all of the rubbish
o       Spain ceded Florida to the US
 
Mexico then attempted to settle Texas by inviting southern plantation owners to move and settle.
–         New Texans couldn’t handle the Mexican Catholicism
–         Mexicans couldn’t handle the slavery
 
Texas became an independent Republic in 1836
–         Became a state in 1845
 
Texas is never considered a public land state because the US Govt never owned lands in Texas. 
–         Primarily because the Texas land titles were a huge mess!!
o       Spanish, Mexican and US titles; overlapping grants, etc.
–         Texas did cede some lands to the US Govt, parts of current Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado
 
Shortly thereafter… Mexican-American War
–         Mexico cedes Northern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico
 
Gadsden Purchase – 1854
–         Purchased Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico
For the construction of a railroad (and ultimately I-10)