Oregon Dunes Recreation Area:

Patenting of Mining Claims Complies With Law

RCED-91-8: Published: Dec 26, 1990. Publicly Released: Jan 25, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the legality and propriety of the federal government's and a claim holder's actions in allowing the claim holder to patent land within the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for private ownership and mining.

GAO found that: (1) the federal government properly concluded that the mining claims had an uncommon variety of sand which made the claims subject to the patent provision of the Mining Law of 1872; (2) the claim holder and the federal government met various requirements governing locating, recording, maintaining, and patenting mining claims; (3) the federal government was not required under the Coastal Zone Management Act to notify Oregon of the proposed patenting; and (4) patenting of such claims was inconsistent with more recent national natural resource policies that call for the federal government to maintain ownership of public lands and obtain fair market value for public resources.

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