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COAL-LAND LAW AND REGULATIONS THEREUNDER.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Washington, DC., July 31, 1882. GENTLEMEN: The following sections of the Revised Statutes provide for the sale of coal lands of the United States:
TITLE XXXII, CHAPTER Six.
MINERAL LANDS AND MINING RESOURCES.
Sec. 2347. Every person above the age of twenty-one years, who is a citizen of the United States, or who has declared his intention to become such, or any association of persons severally qualified as above, shall, upon application to the register of the proper land-office, have the right to enter, by legal subdivisions, any quantity of vacant coal-lands of the United States not otherwise appropriated or reserved by competent authority, not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to such individual person, or three hundred and twenty acres to such association, upon payment to the receiver of not less than ten dollars per acre for such lands, where the same shall be situated more than fifteen miles from any completed railroad, and not less than twenty dollars per acre for such lands as shall be within fifteen miles of such road.
SEC. 2348. Any person or association of persons severally qualified, as above provided, who have opened and improved, or shall hereafter open and improve, any coal mine or mines upon the public lands, and shall be in actual possession of the same, shall be entitled to a preference-right of entry, under the preceding section, of the mines so opened and improved: Provided, That when any association of not less than four persons, severally qualified as above provided, shall have expended not less than five thousand dollars in working and improving any such mine or mines, such association may enter not exceeding six hundred and forty acres, including such mining improvements.
SEC. 2349. All claims under the preceding section must be presented to the register of the proper land-district within sixty days after the date of actual possession and the commencement of improvements on the land, by the filing of a declaratory statement therefor; but when the township plat is not on file at the date of such improvement, filing must be made within sixty days from the receipt of such plat at the district office; and where the improvements shall have been made prior to the expiration of three months from the third day of March, eighteen hundred and seventy-three, sixty days from the expiration of such three months shall be allowed for the filing of a declaratory statement, and no sale under the provisions of this section shall be allowed until the expiration of six months from the third day of March, eighteen hundred and seventy-three.
Sec. 2350. The three preceding sections shall be held to authorize only one entry by the same person or association of persons; and no association of persons any member of which shall have taken the benefit of such sections, either as an individual or as a member of any other association, shall enter or hold any other lands under the provisions thereof; and no member of any association which shall have taken the benefit of such sections shall enter or hold any other lands under their provisions; and all persons claiming under section twenty-three hundred and forty-eight shall be required to prove their respective rights and pay for the lands filed upon within one year from the time prescribed for filing their respective claims; and upon failure to file the proper notice, or to pay for the land within the required period, the same shall be subject to entry by any other qualified applicant.
Sec. 2351. In case of conflicting claims upon coal-lands where the improvements shall be commenced, after the third day of March, eighteen hundred and seventythree, priority of possession and improvement, followed by proper filing and continued good faith, shall determine the preference-right to purchase. And also where
improvements have already been made prior to the third day of March, eighteen hundred and seventy-three, division of the land claimed may be made by legal subdivisions, to include, as near as may be, the valuable improvements of the respective parties. The Commissioner of the General Land-Office is authorized to issue all needful rules and regulations for carrying into effect the provisions of this and the four preceding sections.
SEC. 2352. Nothing in the five preceding sections shall be construed to destroy or impair any rights which may have attached prior to the third day of March, eighteen hundred and seventy-three, or to authorize the sale of lands valuable for mines of gold, silver, or copper.
RULES AND REGULATIONS.
Under the authority conferred by said section 2351 the following rules and regulations are issued for carrying into effect the provisions of said law:
1. Sale of coal-lands is provided for-
By granting a preference right of purchase, based on priority of possession and improvement, under section 2348.
2. The land entered under either section must be by legal subdivisions, as made by the regular United States survey. Entry is confined to surveyed lands; to such as are vacant, not otherwise appropriated, reserved by competent authority, or containing valuable minerals other than coal.
3. Individuals and associations may purchase. If an individual, he must be 21 years of age and a citizen of the United States, or have declared his intention to become such citizen.
4. If an association of persons, each person must be qualified as above.
5. A person is not disqualified by the ownership of any quantity of other land, nor by having removed from his own land in the same State or Territory.
6. Any individual may enter by legal subdivisions as aforesaid any area not exceeding 160 acres.
7. Any association may enter not to exceed 320 acres.
8. Any association of not less than 4 persons, duly qualified, who shall have expended not less than $5,000 in working and improving any coal mine or mines, may enter under section 2348 not exceeding 640 acres, including such mining improvements.
9. One person can have the benefit of one entry or filing only. He is disqualified by having made such entry or filing alone or as a member of an association. No entry can be allowed an association which has in it a single person thus disqualified, as the law prohibits the entry or holding of more than one claim either by an individual or an association.
10. Lands that are sufficiently valuable for gold, silver, or copper to prevent their entry as agricultural lands can not be entered as coallands; and you will not allow any entry to be made under the abovenamed provisions of law of lands valuable for their deposits of said minerals.
11. The present rules relative to "hearings to establish the character of lands,"contained in General Land Office regulations of October 31, 1881 (Revision approved June 24, 1899) issued under the mining laws, will, as far as applicable, govern your action in determining the character of lands sought to be entered as coal-land.