Larson Limestone Co. v. Division of Oil, Gas & Mining

In Larson Limestone Co. v. Division of Oil, Gas & Mining, 903 P.2d 429, 431-32 (Utah 1995), the Court rejected, as an interpretation of the exclusion that would swallow the Act whole, a quarrying company's argument that its operations should have been exempt under the statute due to their end use and economic value. The Court held: Larson's argument that it is a rock aggregate company because a commercial market exists for its overburden would mean that virtually any "mining operation" could avoid regulation simply by selling its overburden. . . . Under Larson's theory, the operators of a gold mine could remove gold from the limited mining areas, sell their waste as rock aggregate, and avoid posting the $ 50,000 reclamation surety, regardless of the actual size of the area disturbed by the total mining effort. Clearly, the Utah legislature did not intend to permit circumvention of the Act in this fashion. (Id. at 432.)