Although the legal issues discussed herein are varied, they can be reduced to a few cautionary principles. Do not disturb the dead. Make sure that any mineral activities that might impact cemeteries comply fully with Title 8 of Louisiana’s Revised Statutes. Watch out for school lands. Sixteenth section lands, generally, are not that confusing, but be aware of them when conducting title searches to ensure that leases are taken from and royalties are paid to proper parties. Be aware of water movements. The impact of natural and anthropogenic changes in waterways can affect ownership of mineral rights. Know who can access your waters. For liability protection purposes, it is imperative that you are aware of the law related to who has the right to be where in the waterways of the State. Not all questions related to this issue have yet been answered, but the review herein is suggestive of several trends. When performing title searches, be aware of when patents were issued by the State. These will likely control who owns the mineral rights. The State cannot alienate its minerals. Coastal restoration provides a reasonable basis for temporary reorganizations of mineral rights depending on the character of the land (submerged v. emerged). Dredge material is a mineral that State actors must be careful of alienating without adequate compensation. In addition, the Corps is likely out of compliance with the CZMA through its failure to beneficially use material dredged from Louisiana’s water bottoms. The State has a public trust duty to protect its environment through critical analyses of federal environmental documents. Challenges to the feds on inadequate documents are not attacks on the mineral industry and should be supported in the vein of facilitating future, ecologically sound OCS mineral exploitation. These disparate issues, all of which revolve around the State’s role and involvement in mineral matters can have significant implications for the practitioner.
- sixteenth sections,
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