EAST, District Judge:
Plaintiffs appeal from a judgment dismissing their claim with prejudice pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment rendering all or part of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. §§ 1701-1782, unconstitutional and invalid. Plaintiffs also sought to enjoin the Secretary of the Interior from expending certain funds for the enforcement of the Act. This appeal raises questions of standing, justiciability, and the adequacy of plaintiffs' allegations to state claims upon which relief can be granted. We note jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and affirm.
I. THE CASE
In 1976, Congress passed the Federal Land Policy and Management Act ("Act"), 43 U.S.C. §§ 1701-1782. The Act establishes a system of land use planning and management for lands owned by the United States, and includes several provisions relating to mining claims.
Plaintiffs filed this action on November 2, 1977, seeking a declaratory judgment that the Act is unconstitutional in whole or in part, and seeking to enjoin the Secretary of the Interior from expending certain funds appropriated pursuant to the Act for law enforcement on the public lands. Plaintiffs allege that the Act violates the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution, the provisions of Article IV, Section 3, and the two year limitation upon appropriations for armies found in Art. I, § 8, cl. 12.
On April 19, 1978, the District Court granted defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the specific ground that plaintiffs had failed to state a justiciable claim, and granted leave to amend. When plaintiffs did not amend their complaint within 15 days, the District Court entered a judgment dismissing the complaint with prejudice, from which plaintiffs appeal.
II. JUSTICIABILITY AND STANDING
The jurisdiction of the federal courts is limited to the adjudication of "cases or controversies" by Art. III, § 2, of the Constitution. Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 37-38, 96 S.Ct. 1917, 1923-1924, 48 L.Ed.2d 450 (1976); Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2205, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975). There is a substantial question as to whether plaintiffs' allegations are sufficient to satisfy this jurisdictional prerequisite.
The "case or controversy" requirement demands first that the issues be justiciable; i. e., they must "present a real and substantial controversy which unequivocally calls for the adjudication of ... rights." Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497, 509, 81 S.Ct. 1752, 1759, 6 L.Ed.2d 989 (1961) (Brennan, J. concurring). A second case or controversy requirement is that the plaintiffs have standing to assert their claims. In Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 45 L.Ed.2d 343, the Supreme Court noted that the question of standing is in essence
Standing requires as a constitutional minimum that a plaintiff allege "such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204, 82 S.Ct. 691, 703, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962). The standing question focuses upon the party asserting the claim because "[t]he Art. III judicial power exists only to redress or otherwise to protect against injury to the complaining party, even though the court's judgment may benefit others collaterally. A federal court's jurisdiction therefore can be invoked only when the plaintiff himself has suffered `some threatened or actual injury resulting from the putatively illegal action ....' Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 617, [93 S.Ct. 1146, 1148, 35 L.Ed.2d 536] (1973)." Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. at 499, 95 S.Ct. at 2205. This constitutional dimension of the standing requirement is sometimes described as a requirement that the plaintiff allege "injury in fact." Schlesinger v. Reservists Committee to Stop the War, 418 U.S. 208, 218, 94 S.Ct. 2925, 2930, 41 L.Ed.2d 706 (1974); Ass'n of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. v. Camp, 397 U.S. 150, 152, 90 S.Ct. 827, 829, 25 L.Ed.2d 184 (1970).
Additionally, the courts have imposed standing limitations beyond those required by the Constitution. These prudential limitations arise from a concern that the courts not "be called upon to decide abstract questions of wide public significance even though other governmental institutions may be more competent to address the questions and even though judicial intervention may be unnecessary to protect individual rights." Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. at 500, 95 S.Ct. at 2206. Thus, the courts have held that when the alleged harm is a "generalized" or "abstract" grievance shared by a large class of citizens, jurisdiction will not be exercised. See, e. g., Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. at 499, 95 S.Ct. at 2205; Schlesinger v. Reservists Committee to Stop the War; United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166, 94 S.Ct. 2940, 41 L.Ed.2d 678 (1974); Ex Parte Levitt, 302 U.S. 633, 58 S.Ct. 1, 82 L.Ed. 493 (1937).
The case or controversy requirement applies to actions under the Declaratory Judgments Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201. Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227, 240, 57 S.Ct. 461, 463, 81 L.Ed. 617 (1937); Stewart v. M. M. & P. Pension Plan, 608 F.2d 776, 782 (9th Cir. 1979). Thus, insofar as they are constitutionally mandated, the doctrines of standing and justiciability apply to actions for declaratory judgments. Further, the Declaratory Judgment Act applies
Because standing and justiciability are limitations upon the exercise of the jurisdiction of the federal courts, we must consider these issues in regard to the various claims presented despite plaintiffs' contention that the justiciability issue is not properly before us. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421, 89 S.Ct. 1843, 1848, 23 L.Ed.2d 404 (1969) (opinion of Marshall, J.); City of South Lake Tahoe v. California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 625 F.2d 231, 233 (9th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 101 S.Ct. 619, 66 L.Ed.2d 502 (1980).
III. PROCEDURE AND PLEADING REQUIREMENTS
Before turning to plaintiffs' individual claims, we note that the task of determining whether the justiciability and standing requirements are satisfied is somewhat complicated by the procedural posture of this case. On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the complaint must be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Russell v. Landrieu, 621 F.2d 1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 1980); McKinney v. DeBord, 507 F.2d 501 (9th Cir. 1974). Consequently, we generally assume the factual allegations to be true. Brown v. Brown, 368 F.2d 992, 993 (9th Cir. 1966). We do not, however, necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations. Hiland Dairy, Inc. v. Kroger Co., 402 F.2d 968 (8th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 395 U.S. 961, 89 S.Ct. 2096, 23 L.Ed.2d 748 (1969); Ogden River Water Users' Ass'n v. Weber Basin Water Conservancy, 238 F.2d 936 (10th Cir. 1956).
The liberal reading accorded complaints on 12(b)(6) motions is, moreover, subject to the requirement that the facts demonstrating standing must be clearly alleged in the complaint. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. at 422, 89 S.Ct. at 1849; City of South Lake Tahoe v. California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 625 F.2d at 237 n.7. We cannot construe the complaint so liberally as to extend our jurisdiction beyond its constitutional limits. With these considerations in mind, we turn to plaintiffs' claims.
IV. SPECIFIC CLAIMS
A. Fourth Amendment Claim
43 U.S.C. 1733(c)(1) grants the Secretary authority to enter into contracts with local officials for law enforcement on the public lands, and authorizes the officials or their agents to "search without warrant or process any person, place, or conveyance according to any Federal law or rule of law." Plaintiffs allege that § 1733(c)(1) violates their right to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures, and they seek to have it declared unconstitutional.
To satisfy the standing requirement, plaintiffs must allege some threatened or actual injury resulting from the application of the statute to them. Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. at 617, 93 S.Ct. at 1148. The injury must be both "real" and "immediate." O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 494, 94 S.Ct. 669, 675, 38 L.Ed.2d 674 (1974). Plaintiffs have failed to allege that § 1733(c)(1) has been applied or threatened to be applied to them or anyone else, or that they have suffered any real or threatened injury at the hands of persons acting under the authority granted by the statute. Thus, plaintiffs
B. Vagueness Claims
Plaintiffs challenge §§ 1732(b), 1740 and 1733(a) and (g) on the grounds that these statutes, taken together, constitute a criminal statute which is unconstitutionally vague. Section 1732(b) directs the Secretary of Interior to take any action to prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the public lands he is charged with managing.
Plaintiffs interpret these statutes as meaning "that the defendant or his delegates has a free hand to make criminal any activity which the Secretary may choose to deem `unnecessary or undue degradation of the lands' and such activity is made a crime before the Secretary or his delegate has even described it." On the basis of this interpretation, plaintiffs contend that these statutes are unconstitutionally vague.
We are not required to accept plaintiffs' legal conclusion that these statutes authorize spontaneous criminal lawmaking. Hiland Dairy, Inc. v. Kroger Co. The language of § 1733(a) is clear in providing that the criminal penalties only attach to the violation of regulations lawfully issued pursuant to the Act. Section 1740 provides that the promulgation of the regulations is subject to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act,
The complaint also alleges that because the Secretary has "declared that digging in
In Rincon Band of Mission Indians v. County of San Diego, 495 F.2d 1 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1008, 95 S.Ct. 328, 42 L.Ed.2d 283 (1974), this Court held that in an action for declaratory judgment, a general threat of enforcement, absent any arrests for violation of a county gambling ordinance, was "insufficient to meet the case or controversy requirements" of Art. III of the Constitution. The Bolton decision was distinguished on the grounds that it involved a history of prosecutions under the challenged statute, a circumstance which was not shown in Rincon and which is not alleged here.
The Secretary's alleged statement that "plaintiffs cannot dig in the ground" is not a sufficiently specific threat of prosecution to confer standing upon plaintiffs. The statement, which is characterized neither as a regulation nor an order, presents at most a possibility that plaintiffs may eventually be prosecuted for violating regulations issued pursuant to the Act. Such a hypothetical threat is insufficient to satisfy either the "case or controversy requirement" of Art. III, § 2, or the "actual controversy" requirement of the Declaratory Judgment Act.
The alleged inability of plaintiffs to mine their claims and do their assessment work appears to be the result of fears of prosecution based on their own patently erroneous interpretation of the Act. Plaintiffs cannot, however, create a justiciable case or controversy simply by misreading statutes and claiming as injury fears born of their own error.
Plaintiffs Western Mining Council and its chapters allege that the Act impairs the ability of their members to pay dues, and therefore threatens their existence as trade associations. This allegation is apparently based
C. Impairment of Contract
Plaintiffs allege that, by virtue of the Mining Law of 1872,
The mere existence of a statute, which may or may not ever be applied to plaintiffs, is not sufficient to create a "case or controversy" within the meaning of Article III, Jensen v. National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), 512 F.2d 1189, 1191 (9th Cir. 1975), and is thus insufficient to satisfy the "actual controversy" requirement of the Declaratory Judgment Act. Plaintiffs here have alleged nothing more.
Sections 1735(a) and 1761 through 1764 are similarly not exclusively, or even primarily, applicable to owners of unpatented mining claims. The mere possibility that the Secretary may act in an arguably unconstitutional manner pursuant to one or more of those statutes is insufficient to establish the "real and substantial controversy" required to render a case justiciable under Article III. See Poe v. Ullman. Nor is such a possibility sufficient to meet the Article III standing requirement of "threatened or actual injury." See Warth v. Seldin; O'Shea v. Littleton.
Finally, plaintiffs allege that under § 1781(c), the "patents called for by plaintiffs' contracts will be burdened with added conditions, which the Secretary has been delegated authority to impose in his absolute discretion." Section 1781(c), by reference to a map, defines the "California Desert Conservation Area." Under § 1781(d), the Secretary is directed to "prepare and implement a comprehensive, long-range plan for the management, use, development, and protection of the public lands within the California Desert Conservation Area."
In Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. at 518, 95 S.Ct. at 2215, the Supreme Court said: "It is the responsibility of the complainant clearly to allege facts demonstrating that he is a proper party to invoke judicial resolution of the dispute and the exercise of the court's remedial powers." Plaintiffs have not alleged that the Secretary has, in fact, implemented or threatened to implement such a plan, and it is not at all clear that every possible plan which might be implemented under the Act would affect plaintiffs' mining claims. Thus, plaintiffs again fall short of satisfying the requirements of Art. III, because they have again failed to allege any actual or threatened injury.
D. Substantive Due Process Claim
Sections 1744(a) and (b) set forth requirements that owners of unpatented mining claims file for record with the Bureau of Land Management, and certain other offices, various documents relating to intentions to retain mining claims, performance of assessment work and descriptions of the location of the claims.
Unlike the other challenged provisions of the Act, the filing requirements of § 1744 necessarily and of their own force apply to the individual plaintiffs here. Section 1744(c) leaves the Secretary no discretion, requiring that the claims be conclusively deemed abandoned when the filing provisions are not met. The legislative history indicates that a claim which is "deemed abandoned" is "extinguished." H.R.Rep.No.94-1724, 94th Cong., 2nd Sess. 62, reprinted in  U.S.Code Cong. & Ad. News 6175, 6233.
Thus, if the individual plaintiffs here fail to file, they will lose their interests in their unpatented mining claims. Because an unpatented mining claim is a unique form of property which created in the owners a possessory interest in the land, Best v. Humboldt Placer Mining Co., 371 U.S. 334, 335-36, 83 S.Ct. 379, 381-382, 9 L.Ed.2d 350 (1963), the loss of such an interest would constitute a substantial injury. We believe that the allegations in this regard indicate a sufficiently real and immediate threat of injury to give rise to a justiciable, actual controversy,
Nonetheless, plaintiffs' allegations that the filing requirements are arbitrary and unreasonable are not sufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Although statutes which are "clearly arbitrary and unreasonable, having no substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare" violate the Fifth Amendment's due process clause, Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 395, 47 S.Ct. 114, 121, 71 L.Ed. 303 (1926),
The reasonableness of the provisions of § 1744(a) and (b) was considered and affirmed in Topaz Beryllium Co. v. United States, 479 F.Supp. 309 (D. Utah 1979). That case set out in detail the legislative history of § 1744. Of particular relevance is a discussion in the Senate's report explaining the need for a federal "recordation" requirement and delineating the purpose of the statute:
The Topaz opinion noted that in addition to terminating dormant and unpursued mining claims, the purposes of the Act include land use planning and management, the identification of lands subject to valid locations and invalid locations, and the identification of unauthorized occupancies. The legislative history of § 1744 makes it clear that on their face the filing requirements are neither an arbitrary nor irrational way of realizing these permissible governmental objectives, and we reject plaintiffs' conclusion to the contrary.
Similarly, we reject plaintiffs' conclusion that the provisions of § 1744(c) are unreasonably harsh in requiring that mining claims be conclusively presumed to be abandoned upon failure to file. As noted by the Topaz court, this requirement "fairly frees
E. Procedural Due Process Claim
The complaint also contains an allegation that the Secretary has interpreted 43 U.S.C. § 1744 as authorizing the denial of procedural due process. This assertion is based upon a regulation which provides that owners of claims who have not complied with the filing requirements of § 1744 and certain implementing regulations
The complaint nowhere alleges that any of the plaintiffs have unpatented mining claims located after October 21, 1976. Nor does it allege that they have filed or recorded any of their claims located on or before October 21, 1976. Thus, plaintiffs' allegations are insufficient to show that 43 C.F.R. § 3833.5(d) has been or will ever be applied to them, and they are, therefore, without standing to challenge that regulation.
F. Article IV, Section 3, Claims
The Act declares that it is the policy of the United States to retain the public lands in federal ownership unless it is determined through land use planning procedures that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest. 43 U.S.C. § 1701(a)(1). Plaintiffs allege that some states contain less public land than does California, and contend that the retention policy, therefore, violates Art. IV, § 3, of the Constitution,
Section 1701(a)(13) provides that it is the policy of the United States that the federal government should, on a basis equitable to both the federal and local taxpayers, provide for payments to compensate states and local governments for burdens created as a result of the immunity of federal lands from state and local taxation. Plaintiffs contend that this section also violates Art. IV, § 3, on the grounds that it is a "dubious unilateral method of evading the compact made with the states upon their admission."
Plaintiffs allege that they are both federal and state taxpayers as well as citizens. We, therefore, analyze their standing to challenge these provisions in each of these capacities.
Plaintiffs have failed to meet these nexus requirements. The provisions of § 1701(a)(1) and (13) are simply declarations of policy. In themselves, they impose no taxes and expend no funds. They can, therefore, be said to be exercises of the taxing and spending power, if at all, only in the more tenuous sense. Further, plaintiffs do not even assert that these sections of the Act injure them as federal taxpayers, but instead contend that they are injured as state taxpayers. Plaintiffs have, therefore, not established the required nexus between the claim asserted and their status as federal taxpayers.
Similarly, the complaint is insufficient to satisfy Flast's second requirement, because it contains no allegations that these provisions of the Act exceed a specific constitutional limitation on the congressional taxing and spending power. Not every provision of the Constitution which directs or prohibits some action by Congress constitutes a sufficiently specific limitation on the Art. I, § 8, taxing and spending power. In United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166, 94 S.Ct. 2940, 41 L.Ed.2d 678, for example, plaintiffs challenged certain provisions of the Central Intelligence Agency Act relating to accounting statements on the grounds that they violated the constitutional mandate that a "regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time." Art. I, § 9. The Supreme Court held that this provision did not constitute a specific limitation upon the exercise of the spending or taxing powers. 418 U.S. at 175, 94 S.Ct. at 2945. Similarly, in Frissell v. Rizzo, 597 F.2d 840, 850 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 841, 100 S.Ct. 82, 62 L.Ed.2d 54 (1979), the Third Circuit held that "[i]n the wake of the Richardson holding the claim that the general First Amendment guarantees of free press and free speech fall within the class of specific limitations satisfying the Flast test is without merit."
We hold that the provisions of Art. IV, § 3, are not specific limitations upon the congressional taxing and spending power and, therefore, that plaintiffs have failed to satisfy the second nexus requirement of Flast v. Cohen. Thus, plaintiffs do not have standing as federal taxpayers to challenge the constitutionality of § 1701(a)(1) or (13).
Nor does plaintiffs' status as state taxpayers give them standing to challenge the federal retention and reimbursement policies of § 1701(a)(1) and (13). Even in the context of challenges to state statutes,
In the instant context of a state taxpayer challenge to federal statutes, the policies of the standing doctrine demand that plaintiffs allege some injury which is more definite and individual than the higher state taxes allegedly suffered here. Apparently as a prudential matter,
The increase in state taxes allegedly suffered by plaintiffs is at best a highly generalized injury. A great many federal statutes potentially affect the level of state taxes. Here, plaintiffs' interest in the effect of the retention and reimbursement policies on state taxes is shared in somewhat differing degrees by the taxpayers of all states which contain public lands. We hold that this interest is insufficient to give plaintiffs standing to challenge the constitutionality of § 1701(a)(1) and (13). We do not sit to pass judgment on congressional declarations of policy which affect plaintiffs only in an attenuated and generalized way. Plaintiffs must look to the legislative branch for redress of such generalized grievances.
G. Article I, Section 8, Claim
The Act permits the Secretary to contract with local officials for law enforcement services on the public lands, and to provide law enforcement training so that the contractual responsibilities may be met. 43 U.S.C. § 1733(c)(1).
Plaintiffs allege that these sections fall within the ambit of Art. I, § 8, cl. 12, of the Constitution, which grants Congress power "[t]o raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years." Plaintiffs apparently make the highly suspect assumption that the desert ranger force referred to in § 1733(e) and the law enforcement personnel referred to in § 1733(c) constitute "Armies" within the meaning of Art. I, § 8, cl. 12, and conclude that because the Act allegedly contains appropriations which are "unlimited," the Act runs afoul of the two year constitutional limitation on appropriations for armies.
The complaint fails to specify which sections of the Act contain these allegedly "unlimited appropriations." However, the Act does contain at least one appropriation authorization in § 1781(j),
Thus, with regard to this claim, plaintiffs appear to have satisfied the literal terms of the Flast nexus requirements for taxpayer standing, inasmuch as they have challenged a congressional exercise of the spending power and have alleged that the Act violates the specific limitation on that power contained in Art. I, § 8, cl. 12.
Nonetheless, plaintiffs have failed to state a cognizable claim. It is clear that the Art. I, § 8, cl. 12, limitation on appropriations for "Armies" does not apply to every type of "armed force," as plaintiffs allege. For example, no such limitations are attached to the separate grants of power to Congress to provide and maintain a navy and to organize, arm, and discipline a militia. Art. I, § 8, cls. 13, 16.
The inclusion of the two year appropriations limitation in Art. IV, § 8, cl. 12, resulted from the concern of the framers of the Constitution that a standing army might be detrimental to liberty. See Kinsella v. United States ex rel. Singleton, 361 U.S. 234, 268, 80 S.Ct. 297, 321, 4 L.Ed.2d 268 (1960); Prescott, Drafting the Federal Constitution 515-525 (1941); 5 Elliot's Debates 443-445. We perceive no equivalent danger from a ranger force or law enforcement personnel engaged in routine law enforcement activities on the federal lands, and conclude that they may not fairly be characterized as "Armies." Thus, Art. I, § 8, cl. 12, is inapplicable to the challenged sections of the Act, and plaintiffs' allegations
The allegations in support of plaintiffs' various claims are either insufficient to satisfy the justiciability and standing requirements or inadequate to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. We, therefore, affirm the District Court's dismissal of the complaint with prejudice.
"In managing the public lands the Secretary shall, by regulation or otherwise, take any action necessary to prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the lands."
43 U.S.C. § 1744(b) sets forth additional requirements that a copy of the official record of the notice of location or certificate of location be filed in the office of the Bureau of Land Management designated by the Secretary. This is a one time filing which was required to be made by October 21, 1979 for those claims located before the effective date of the Act, and within ninety days after the location of claims occurring after October 21, 1976.