ALASKA MINER FIGHTS PREMATURE ORDER TO VACATE CLAIMS
September 3, 2010 - For Immediate Release
DENVER, CO. One of three Alaska miners who owns claims in Alaska that were illegally declared null and void by a federal agency who was ordered recently to vacate his claims today appealed that decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) and sought a stay from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of its decision to evict him prior to a final IBLA ruling. On August 5, 2010, the BLM ordered Donald E. Mullikin to vacate his claims despite an appeal by Mr. Mullikin and his wife, Judith, and Christopher L. Mullikin of Homer, contesting the BLM’s invalidation of their seventeen (17) claims in the Seward Peninsula. The Mullikins argue that the BLM’s action was illegal because they provided the agency with the required documentation on a timely basis and had “cured” the alleged failure of the agency to process the documents they provided. The BLM asserts that it did not receive the documents and, thus, may declare the claims null and void.
“The reason for the BLM’s decision is the IBLA has not issued a stay,” said William Perry Pendley, president of Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), which represents the Mullikins. “The BLM’s demand is contrary to law, creates a hardship for the Mullikins, offends the public interest, and is an affront to Congress, which has acted on and continues to act on this issue.”
On March 27, 2009, the Mullikins mailed completed small miner waiver certificates for the 2009–2010 assessment year to the BLM’s Fairbanks office. They did not mail the forms by certified mail because they were mailing them well in advance of the September 1 deadline. On September 25, 2009, they received a telephone call from the BLM advising that it could not locate the Mullikins’ certificates. The Mullikins offered to fax a copy of the certificates they had sent but were told not to bother. On November 12, 2009, the Mullikins sent duplicates of the March 27, 2009, cover letters and small miner waiver certificates to the BLM and, on November 30, 2009, sent the BLM copies of recorded Affidavits of Annual Labor for the 2008–2009 assessment year with checks to cover the $10 per claim filing fee. The BLM cashed the checks and mailed receipts to the Mullikins.
On December 8, 2009, the BLM issued decisions voiding the Mullikins’ claims but noted their right to appeal to the IBLA. On December 28, 2009, the Mullikins sent two other duplicate sets of the March 27, 2009, letters and completed small miner waiver certificates to the BLM Alaska State Office and advised that the resubmitted certificates were a timely “cure” because they were submitted within 60 days of the BLM’s December 8, 2009, decision. On January 7, 2010, the Mullikins filed Notices of Appeal and Petitions for Stay with the IBLA. On March 26, 2010, they filed their Statement of Reasons.
Mountain States Legal Foundation, founded in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest law firm dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area.
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit,
public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right
to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity
incorporated in the State of Colorado. Csontributions
to Mountain States Legal Foundation are tax deductible.
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