The State Of Washington Owns The Mineral Rights On A Signifciant Portion Of The Glacier Mine Site
- In the early 1900’s The State of Washington, as property owner, sold an 80 acre portion of the current mine site to private individuals.
- As required by State law and as noted in the deeds, the sale transferred only the surface estateto the land with the State reserving to itself the ownership and right to “minerals of every name kind and description in and upon the land“.
- The ownership of these mineral rights is held by the State and managed by the Department of Natural Resourcs for the benefit of the public school trust which means that money earned from the sale or leasing of any mineral goes directly to support the construction of schools.
The Current Washington State Commissioner Of Public Lands Is Declining To Enforce The State Owned Mineral Rights.
- Glacier Northwest has been removing the minerals from a significant portion of the land covered by the State held mineral reservation for decades and according to state law, should owe the State millions of dollars.
- Without affirmed legal basis, the Commissioner has declined to enforce the State held mineral rights noting that while indeed a mineral, sand and gravel is not a mineral that is held in the State’s mineral reservation.
- The Commissioners position is both puzzling and troubling given the State mineral reservation notes the reservation of minerals of every name kind and description.
- In virtually all cases in the United States where there has been a legal question as to the inclusion of sand and gravel in a publically held mineral reservation including cases where the reservation simply noted “minerals”, it has been the public agencies arguing for the inclusion of the sand and gravel rather than fighting to give the resource away.
- The only case law regarding the issue of sand and gravel in a mineral reservation is a case called Puget Mill v Duecy. This case involved a private reservation between two individuals rather than a state reservation and it was heard before the State Supreme Court in 1939.
- In Puget Mill v Duecy the court generally found that in the reservation before them, the inclusion or exclusion of sand and gravel could only be determined by looking at the deed language and the intent of parties involved. In short, the mineral would be included if it was understood to be a mineral at the time and the intention to include it was determined.
- Mineral surveys perfomed in the early 1900’s by the State geologist clearly identify sand and gravel as an economic mineral.
- In his survey of mineral lands, the State geologist specifically identifies the Steilacoom sand and gravel mine which at the time was in full operation.
- Glacier Northwest frequently notes the Steilacoom mine as indication of the companies long operating history in the State.
- At the time of the property transfer, then acting Commissioner of Public Lands E.W Ross made a report to the State Legislature proudly explaining the intentionally broad stroke of the State mineral reservation noting its integrity in protecting the public interest in the event public officials through mistake, collusion or fraud, endeavored to avoid the reservation.
- Sand and gravel has historically been understood to be an economic mineral and there is clear indication that “minerals of every name kind and description” was intended by the State to truly include “minerals of every name kind and description” and yet, the current Commissioner of Public Lands has chosen not to act.
- State legislation is currently being considered that would direct DNR to withold the granting of a lease over State Aquatic lands, which is necessary for Glacier’s dock construction, until this million dollar issue can be fully investigated and resolved.
- Why should the State grant Glacier Northwest a lease on State owned aquatic lands, facilitate the environmental damages involved with the construction of Glaciers proposed industrial dock, so that the company can have access to a State owned resource?
This Mine Expansion Doesn’t Make any Sense
It Doesn’t Make Environmental Sense
It Doesn’t Make Economic Sense
It Doesn’t Make Sense For The People Of Washington State