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D.C. Circuit Invalidates 156 Oil Shale Claims

(CN) - A mining group is not entitled to oil shale claims on federal land because it did not perform the assessments required by federal law, the D.C. Circuit ruled. The decision on Friday reinstates an Interior Department order invalidating 156 claims held by Orion Reserves Limited Partnership.

When Orion appealed the order, the district court agreed with the miners that the Interior Department's decision was arbitrary and capricious. Judge Griffith overturned the decision.

The Bureau of Land Management invalidated the claims before Orion's predecessors failed many times to file the proper affidavits between 1920 and 1970.

"Because the Supreme Court determined that the Mining Law and the Leasing Act together require 'substantial compliance' assessment work obligations to maintain oil shale claims," Griffith wrote, "any contrary directive in Interior's past regulations offers no protection to a noncompliant claimholder like Orion."

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