No Mining Rights on Lothal

Let’s face it, no one is as smooth talking with the ladies as Lando Calrissian. Despite Lando’s ability to impress a woman with, “You truly belong here with us among the clouds,” Lando’s sweet talk is not enough charm to the Empire into permitting mining rights on private property on Lothal.

Mining (on Earth) is a regulated activity, even on private property. There is substantial legislation about applying for permits to mine on public land or how to establish a claim.

On Lothal, the Empire continues to endear itself to the population by prohibiting mining on private property. In the United States, mining on private property (that is supposed to be a mine) does require permits in virtually every state. Moreover, the regulation of mining activities, such as requiring a permit, is not a “taking” of private property under the Fifth Amendment. M & J Coal Co. v United States, 47 F3d 1148, 1149 [Fed Cir 1995].

Why does the government regulate mining on private property? Health and public safety are obvious concerns. Neighbors are not thrilled when potentially hazardous materials become airborne and land on surrounding private property. Moreover, no one wants their neighbor blasting a new mine in a residential neighborhood on the argument, “It’s my property, I do what I want with TNT.”

Lothal provides a very different case study where the Empire has outright prohibited all mining on private property. If there had been existing mines that were prohibited from operation, suspending those pre-existing mining rights would be a “taking” of private property in the United States. Those miners should have been entitled to just compensation for their lost property rights. However, filing any such claims likely would have been treason, resulting in the property owner being sent to the Spice Mines of Kessel.

That being said, let’s not forget the important thing: We got to hear Billy Dee Williams voice Lando Calrissian. You old space pirate, it was good to see you.

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.