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Public Lands Law

Because much of the land across the West is owned by federal, state, and tribal governments, mineral exploration and development occurs in large part on public lands. Our experienced, comprehensive public lands practice continues the firm’s rich heritage in public land law. Our public lands team includes lawyers who have served in senior legal positions responsible for public lands issues within federal and state government entities and who maintain excellent relationships with relevant agencies throughout the West and in Washington, D.C.

We assist companies ranging from the largest in the world to small startups in acquiring, operating, and defending mineral rights on public lands for oil and gas, coal, hard rock minerals, and other mineral resources. DGS assists clients in acquiring mineral development rights on public lands, including obtaining oil and gas and coal leases, perfecting and maintaining mining claims, obtaining and renewing rights-of-way, completing land exchanges, and prosecuting mineral patents. Operational issues DGS lawyers work on include assisting clients with applications for permits to drill, plans of operation, access rights, unitization, acreage limitation issues, lease assignments, lease suspensions, notices of non-compliance, bonding, logical mining units, and the proper payment of royalties and severance taxes. DGS lawyers routinely litigate widely-reported public lands cases in federal courts across the Rocky Mountain West, California, Alaska, and the District of Columbia and before the Interior Board of Land Appeals, Minerals Management Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Office of Surface Mining.

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Scott W. Hardt

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Zach C. Miller

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Kathleen C. Schroder

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