It seems that Dianne Feinstein is, once again, seeking to use the power of the Presidency or the Congress to seek control over vast areas of land … some having actual or potential mining value …
Feinstein asks Obama to bypass Congress to create three desert monuments
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she has asked President Obama to bypass Congress and create three new national monuments in California, giving federal protection to more than 1 million acres of mountain ranges, sandy expanses and forests lying roughly between Palm Springs and the Nevada border.
The terrain encompasses overlapping biological zones that provide habitat for mountain lions, the California desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, fringe-toed lizards and more than 250 species of birds.
In a statement Friday, Feinstein said she has not given up on winning congressional approval. Her request, which the senator acknowledged after The Times obtained a copy of her letter to Obama, applies pressure on Congress and the various interest groups to resolve their differences or face presidential action in which they have little voice. The Obama administration did not respond to inquiries about Feinstein's request.
The proposed monuments are quite distinct from one another.
Mojave Trails National Monument would encompass 921,000 acres of federal land and former railroad property along a 105-mile stretch of old Route 66, between Ludlow and Needles, and protect wildlife corridors linking Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.
Sand to Snow National Monument, about 45 miles east of Riverside, would embrace about 135,000 acres of federal land between Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The area includes roughly 24 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and Big Morongo Canyon, a birding hot spot that was designated a federal Area of Critical Environmental Concern in 1982.
Castle Mountains National Monument would include a desert outback left out of the 1994 California Desert Protection Act due to an active gold mine that ceased operations in 2001. Located near the Mojave National Preserve, the area includes the historic mining town of Hart.
"We want this bill to proceed through the legislative process," Ramos said. "But if the administration moves forward with an executive action, we strongly support protection of existing mining rights in those areas."
Why I am concerned … this is not the first time we have seen alleged shenanigans with desert mining properties …
“On October 8, 1994 the biggest gold heist in history occurred, but this theft lacked the melodrama of a Jesse James holdup or the excitement of a Brink's truck robbery. Nary a word was reported by the media even though this thievery was committed in the light of day. The citizens that were being robbed tried to cry out for help but the lawmen wouldn't listen because unbeknownst to them they were helping the bandits gain their booty.”
“The 103rd Congress managed to accomplish more than a gang of train robbers could achieve in a lifetime when they approved the Desert Wilderness Protection Act. ‘Instead of voting on the Desert Wilderness Protection Act, Congress should be convening a criminal investigation,’ said Donald Fife, spokesman for the National Association of Mining Districts. Fife was commenting on recent information that indicates tens of billions of dollars in gold deposits and huge real estate swindles may be the motivating factors behind the act.”
“Sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein, the Desert Wilderness Protection Act and it's companion bill known as the California Desert Protection Act create three new national parks and seventy-four new wilderness areas in the desert of California that would total 8 million acres (an area the size of Maryland). This will close this acreage to development, force out private owners within the protected area and close down mines and ranches. It would also expand the Death Valley and Joshua Tree national monuments and upgrade them to national parks. This is the largest wilderness land lockup since the 1980 Alaska Lands Act; largest ever in the lower 48 states. Senator Feinstein contends that the fragile ecosystem of the desert must be protected from development, but in reality the areas being placed into park and wilderness closures are not threatened.”
“In 1980, the California Desert Conservation Area Plan was enacted to protect the desert and it has been rigorously enforced by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Furthermore, the designated acreage mentioned in this bill have largely been for sale at bargain prices for over 100 years with no takers because there is absolutely no water or any prospect of water for development. It seems that the real motivation for passage of this bill lies with the special interest groups that would benefit monetarily.”
“Through a complex series of land exchanges, Catellus Corp., a subsidiary of Santa Fe Pacific, would receive land that contains some of the richest gold deposits in the world. In exchange the public gets seventy-four widely scattered tracts of desert which have found no economic use in more than a century.
“Catellus owns over 400,000 acres of worthless land in the California Mojave Desert. This land was obtained by Santa Fe Pacific and its predecessor railroad companies as part of the ‘checkerboard’ railroad lands awarded for the building of the transcontinental railroad. Santa Fe transferred these lands which have been for sale for over 100 years, over to its subsidiary, Catellus Corp. In the land swap, Catellus Corp. will receive land from decommissioned military bases. One of the bases will be the Chocolate Mountain gunnery range. Unbeknownst to the public, inside the range is the world's richest gold rift zone. Geologists estimate that the gold contained in this zone is worth between $40 to $100 billion. These are surface gold deposits which are more profitable to mine than the one-mile deep gold deposits in South Africa.”
“In addition to controlling Catellus, Santa Fe owns and operates the Mesquite gold mine located on the Chocolate Mountain rift zone. The Mesquite gold mine is one of the top ten mines in the United States and has some of the most profitable gold deposits of any mine in the world. To the north is the Chocolate Mountain gunnery range. The Mesquite open pit gold mine literally stops at the fence that borders the gunnery range.”
According to mining engineers who work at the Mesquite mine, the main gold ore body is north of the fence inside the gunnery range. Engineers allege that in 1981 and 1982, Consolidated Goldfields, which owned the mine at the time, illegally drilled into the gunnery range area to determine the composition of the ore body. The samples proved to be of high quality. According to these same engineers, beginning in the mid-1980s, military helicopters brought high ranking military officers, Congressmen and Senators to the area to examine these large gold deposits. Congressman Bruce Vento (D-Minn.) was one of those who toured the area. Engineers allege that the purpose of these tours was to come up with a way to hand these gold deposits to Consolidated Goldfields. No legal mechanism was then available to transfer this land without alerting the public to the existence of the gold. But around the same time the California Desert bill was introduced into Congress by former Senator Alan Cranston.
The California Public Employees Retirement System, (CALPERS) is a nearly $80 billion pension fund whose investment clout is heavily influenced by California leadership which includes Sen. Diane Feinstein. Several years ago, CALPERS made a $400 million investment in Catellus. Shortly after CALPERS made its investment in Catellus, the value of the stock collapsed 82%.
“Dehnert Queen, a San Francisco businessman, filed a criminal complaint in regards to this investment to U.S. Attorney Michael J. Yamaguchi and Ms. Sylvia Scott of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Queen states, in his complaint that Sen. Feinstein ‘misrepresented facts to defraud a public corporation (CALPERS), abused power and conflicts of interest to defraud State and U.S. taxpayers. In early 1993, CALPERS doubled its investment in Catellus to 41 percent...Queen contends ‘that both former Senator Cranston and Senator Feinstein acted to sponsor the Desert Protection Act in order to preserve and protect the formal agreement that then Mayor Feinstein signed with Catellus to build the Mission Bay Project in 1984, updated in 1986 and shepherded same through the City's (San Francisco) departments and commissions.’"
“Ed White, who owns a family mining business in the area is one of many whose business will now be destroyed. ‘The Sierra Club was just used, in my opinion, by Feinstein's bankers friends and the railroad or their land company Catellus, to create the public perception that these lands are fragile and threatened by development,’ said White. ‘The truth appears to be just the opposite. The scattered railroad lands that could never be developed are to be consolidated into a single block of 226,000 acres so they can be developed by Chocolate Mountain Gunnery Range Land and Mining Development.’"
“It is alleged that JLB Realty Corp. based out of Chicago, is tied to Dick Blum, millionaire husband of Sen. Diane Feinstein and that JLB allegedly will stand to make a huge profit on this development. In the name of "re-wilding" millions of acres of desert, grave financial and environmental damage will occur once the land is closed to the public.”
Bottom line …
Considering her history of the self-serving manipulation of situations that materially benefited her husband, I am extremely wary of anything having to do with Diane Feinstein, the desert, and real estate operations.
It is about time that someone takes a close look at those mega-millionaire San Francisco progressive socialist democrats who are looting California’s natural resources while implementing draconian public policies based on a socialist environmental agenda that sees not future for public property. How hypocritical?
We are so screwed.
Research Links …
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius