Legal History

  • Robert E. Forbis Jr.


Analysis of the historical record demonstrates how the federal government’s desire to manage the use of public lands during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries helped establish the dynamic and always evolving subgovernment relationships between the federal government, ranchers, and energy developers. It is in the description of this context and these dynamics that political observers can discern how these developed relationships and dormant legal conditions have come to enable the modern struggle for dominance of the BLM’s land-use subgovernment. The legislative and legal manner these interests have, in almost parallel fashion, developed over time suggests that the clashing of interests within the land-use subgovernment of the BLM was inevitable.


Bureau of Land Management Federal law Ranching Energy Public policy Interest groups Federal legislation 


  1. Akers v. Baldwin, Ky 295, 736 SW 2d 294 (1987).Google Scholar
  2. Alspach, C. M. (2002, Spring). Surface use by the mineral owner: How much accommodation is required under current oil and gas law? Oklahoma Law Review, 55, 89–110.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, T. L., & Hill, P. J. (1990). The race for property rights. Journal of Law and Economics, 33(1), 177–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berry, S. J. (1985). Surface Damages in Texas: A Proposal for Legislative Intervention. St. Mary’s Law Journal., 17(1) 121–154.Google Scholar
  5. Bradley, R. L. (1996). Oil, gas and government: The U.S. Experience (Vol. 1). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Cawley, R. M. (1993). Federal land western anger: The sagebrush rebellion and environmental politics. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chartiers Block Coal Co. v. Mellon, 152 Pa. 286, 25 A. 597 (1893).Google Scholar
  8. Clarke, J. N., & McCool, D. C. (1996). Staking out the terrain: Power and performance among natural resource agencies (2nd ed.). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  9. Coggins, G. C., & Wilkinson, C. F. (1987). Federal public land and resources law (2nd ed.). Mineola, NY: Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  10. Committee on Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing, National Research Council. (1989). Land use planning and oil and gas leasing on onshore federal lands. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  11. Culhane, P. J. (1981). Public lands politics: Interest group influence on the forest service and the bureau of land management. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. for Resources for the Future.Google Scholar
  12. Davis, C. (1997a). Politics and public rangeland policy. In C. Davis (Ed.), Western public lands and environmental politics (pp. 87–110). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  13. Davis, D. H. (1997b). Energy on federal lands. In C. Davis (Ed.), Western public lands and environmental politics (pp. 141–168). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  14. Del Monte Mining & Milling Company v. Last Chance Mining Company., 171 U.S. 55, 60 (1898).Google Scholar
  15. Donahue, D. L. (1999). The western range revisited: Removing livestock from public lands to conserve native biodiversity. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
  16. Donahue, D. L. (2005). Western grazing: The capture of grass, ground, and government. Environmental Law, 35(4), 721–806.Google Scholar
  17. Durant, R. F. (1992). The administrative presidency revisited: Public lands, the BLM, and the Reagan revolution. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  18. Engler, R. (1961). The politics of oil: A study of private power and democratic direction. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Engler, R. (1977). The brotherhood of oil: Energy policy and the public interest. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  20. Evans, G. L. (1996). Comment: Texas landowners strike water—Surface estate remediation and legislatively enhanced liability in the oil patch—A proposal for optimum protection of groundwater resources from oil and gas exploration and production in Texas. Southern Texas Law Review., 37, 484–485, 515.Google Scholar
  21. Fairfax, S. K., & Yale, C. E. (1987). Federal lands: A guide to planning, management, and state revenues. Washington D.C.: Island Press.Google Scholar
  22. Flynn, A. M., & Watson, R. J. (2006). CRS report for Congress: Leasing and permitting for oil and gas development on federal public domain lands. Congressional Research Service. Washington D.C.: Congressional Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  23. Foss, P. O. (1960). Politics and grass: The administration of grazing on the public domain. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  24. Friedman, L. M. (1985). History of American law (2nd ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  25. Gates, P. W. (1968). The history of public land law development. Washington, D.C.: Zenger Publishing.Google Scholar
  26. Gillman, H. (1993). The constitution besieged: The rise and demise of Lochner era police powers jurisprudence. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Graf, M. (1997). Application of takings law to the regulation of unpatented mining claims. Ecology Law Quarterly, 24, 57–60.Google Scholar
  28. Hunt Oil Co. v. Kerbaugh, 283 N.W. 2d 131 (N.D. 1979)Google Scholar
  29. Isser, S. (1996). The economics and politics of the United States oil industry, 1920–1990: Profits, populism, and petroleum. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  30. Keffer, W. R. (1994). Drilling for damages: Common law relief in oilfield pollution cases. Southern Methodist University Law Review, 47(523), 525.Google Scholar
  31. King, C. G., et. al. (1992). Surface rights issues, state bar of Texas. Annual Oil, Gas and Minerals Law Institute.Google Scholar
  32. Klyza, C. M. (1996). Who controls public lands?: Mining, forestry, and grazing politics 1870–1990. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  33. Knight, C. (2002). Comment: A regulatory minefield: Can the Department of the Interior say ‘no’ to a hardrock mine? University of Colorado Law Review, 73(2), 619–626.Google Scholar
  34. Knight, R. L., Gilgert, W. C., & Marston, E. (Eds.). (2002). Ranching west of the 100th meridian: Culture, ecology, and economics. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  35. Large, D. W. (1986). Defining ‘valuable’ mineral deposits-A continuing quagmire. Arizona State Law Journal, 1986(3), 453–486.Google Scholar
  36. Martin, P. H. (1997). Unbundling the executive right: A guide to interpretation of the power to lease and develop oil and gas interests. Natural Resources Journal., 37(2)311–312.Google Scholar
  37. Mayer, C. J., & Riley, G. A. (1985). Public domain, private dominion: A history of public mineral policy in America. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.Google Scholar
  38. McDonald, S. L. (1979). The leasing of federal lands for fossil fuels production. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Merrill, K. R. (2002). Public lands and political meaning: Ranchers, the government, and the property between them. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mills, L., & Willingham, J. C. (1926). The law of oil and gas (2nd ed.). Chicago: Callaghan and company.Google Scholar
  41. Mineral lands leasing act of 1920 as amended (Title 30 of the United States Code §185).Google Scholar
  42. Mining Act of 1866 (repealed 1872).Google Scholar
  43. Nie, M. (2008). The governance of western public lands. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  44. Polston, R. W. (1987). Surface rights of mineral owners—What happens when judges make law and nobody listens? North Dakota Law Review., 63, 41–42.Google Scholar
  45. Smith, Z. A., & Freemuth, J. C. (Eds.). (2007). Environmental politics and policy in the west (Revised ed.). Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.Google Scholar
  46. Starrs, P. F. (1998). Let the cowboy ride: Cattle ranching in the American west. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Steel v. St. Louis Smelting & Refining Co., 106 U.S. 447, 449 (1882).Google Scholar
  48. Wenzel, M. A. (1993). The model surface use and mineral development accommodation act: Easy easements for mining interests. American University Law Review., 24(607), 623–624.Google Scholar
  49. Wilkinson, C. F. (1992). Crossing the next meridian: Land, water, and the future of the West. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Forbis Jr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

Personalised recommendations