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Save the Cima Cinder Mine

(The following is a message from Lorene's daughter, Robin.)


We hope this appeal for help will not fall on deaf ears.

The National Park Service (NPS), an agency of the Federal government's Department of Interior (DOI) HAS VIOLATED my family's 5th Amendment right by taking property and the ability to make a living without JUST COMPENSATION! The Cima Cinder Mine was claimed by my grandfather in 1948 and has been operating under the 1872 mining laws since that time, (As well as abiding by all current mining requirements). On August 10, 1999 the NPS ordered the mine to shut down. The Cima Cinder Mine had been grandfathered and has valid existing rights, long before the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and other cited regulations in the shut down order. How mining claims compare to private property is stated in the Supreme Court case, Wilber v. U.S. ex rel. Krushnic, 280 US 306, which says, "mining claimants have right of present and exclusive possession".

What does this mean for you? As a citizen of the U.S., your rights can also be violated and your business or property can be taken from you too!

How and why they have done this is based on a lawsuit that is being threatened against the NPS by a group under the heading Western Mining Action Project. This group includes the following organizations: National Parks and Conservation Association, The Center for Biological Diversity and the Citizens For Mojave National Park. These groups assert that the family owned Cima Cinder Mine in California should not be in operation because of alleged violation to the Endangered Species Act and other Acts and Regulations. Their major cited concern is the desert tortoise. When in fact the Bureau of Land Management (also another DOI agency) did perform an Environmental Assessment and found neither signs nor indications that the desert tortoise represented a problem at or near the mine site.

The NPS has requested that the operators, my mother, Lorene Caffee, and her husband Terry Caffee file a plan of operation to continue mining under today's rules and regulations. The Caffee's were issued a temporary plan of operation until the NPS approved their permanent plan of operation. The crux of it all is that the Caffee's did file a permanent plan of operation with the NPS but the NPS has not fulfilled their duty under the law by following through with any approval or any other requests to the Caffee's. We understand a former park service employee has testified that it was the NPS's policy to stall the plan of operations process in order to avoid ever having to pay a takings claim. They seldom ever approve or deny a plan of operation. The Caffee's have been left in limbo since 1995, waiting for the Red Tape of the government to approve their plan of operation, in the mean time a deal has been cut with the NPS! Their entire aim is to shut the mine down and then offer us a miniscule fraction of its value as a buy out!

The deal that has been cut with the NPS is that the Western Mining Action Project has offered to "forestall" their lawsuit if they close down the Cima Cinder Mine. The NPS took the deal. On August 10, 1999, they sent an NPS Ranger to the mine with a notice of trespass, after 50 years we were made the trespassers!

No notice! No Just compensation! The mine that my grandfather began 50 years ago would cease to exist because a branch of the Federal government did not fulfill their OBLIGATIONS! The National Park Service cut a deal with the group suing them to save their own skin!

Who is next? Moreover, how do we stop this? We need to let the people know and let every representative in our government (Senators and Congressional Representatives) know what is happening.

This action has taken away a family legacy and not only my mothers income but also from my elderly grandmother's limited income. Any help you and your audience can give in bringing awareness to the people would be appreciated.

Sincerely, Robin Storti
Fax 714 899-5556

Back to the Save the Cima Cinder Mine main page

A page on the subject by Sharron (Lorene's sister).