- Since the passage of the mining and mineral leasing
laws, a considerable amount of the public domain has been
excluded from mineral exploration and development. It has been
estimated that as much as fifty-three and sixty-four percent
of the public lands have been withdrawn from the jurisdiction
of the mining and mineral leasing laws respectively. The
authority to withdraw lands from appropriation under the public
land laws was originally vested in Congress by the Constitution.
Authority has been vested in the President and certain governmental
departments by Congressional delegations.
Withdrawals of land from mineral entry in the Wallowa-Whitman
National Forest, an area of past and present mineral development,
take four major forms: power site withdrawals; reclamation
project withdrawals; administrative and public service withdrawals;
and Congressional withdrawals. A total of 22.6 and 21.8 percent
of the public domain within the Forest has been withdrawn from
the jurisdiction of the mining and mineral leasing laws respectively.
Withdrawals by Congressional action alone have excluded
over twenty-one percent of the Forest from mineral entry. Withdrawals
for power sites, reclamation projects and administrative
and public service areas represent a very small proportion of
the total land withdrawn from mineral entry.
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