28 U.S.C. § 1331 grants district courts original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. If an easement in gross dispute involves a substantial federal issue, such as an easement on federal land or under a federal program, it could be heard in federal court under this statute.
43 U.S.C. § 1761 authorizes the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to grant, issue, or renew rights-of-way through any federal lands within their respective jurisdictions. These rights-of-way can include easements in gross for various purposes, such as roads, trails, canals, pipelines, and other systems. The statute sets forth terms and conditions, including compensation, duration, and revocation, under which these easements may be granted.
The Federal Power Act, particularly sections related to the development of hydroelectric projects, may involve the granting of easements in gross for the construction and maintenance of power facilities on federal lands. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) oversees the issuance of licenses for such projects, which may include the creation of easements in gross to access and use specific areas for energy production and transmission.
NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. The granting of an easement in gross on federal land for activities such as hunting, fishing, or construction may require an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) if it is determined that the proposed use could significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
The Federal-Aid Highway Act provides the legal framework for federal funding to states for the construction, expansion, and maintenance of highways. Easements in gross may be required for the creation or expansion of highways, especially when they cross over private lands. The Act outlines the requirements and procedures for obtaining such easements, including compensation and the rights of the state versus the rights of the property owner.