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October 25, 2006 - For Immediate Release
Contact: William Perry Pendley

DENVER, CO. A Montana miner today applied to the U.S. Forest Service for the ability to improve an existing road leading to his mining claim. Frank Antonioli, of Caboose Mining Company, owns a patented mining claim in the Lolo National Forest in western Montana that may be reached only by way of an existing road; however, to engage in mining operations, the road must be improved for year-round use. Mr. Antonioli’s mining claim dates back almost 100 years. Earlier attempts by Mr. Antonioli to improve the road were rejected by the Forest Service, compelling the new applications.

“We are disappointed by the earlier actions of the Forest Service and by the agency’s lack of candor and forthrightness with Mr. Antonioli in response to his application,” said William Perry Pendley of Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represents Mr. Antonioli. “We are hopeful that the Forest Service will take quick action in approving these applications and allowing Mr. Antonioli to get to work producing valuable minerals of use to the American people.”

On May 18, 2005, Mr. Antonioli filed an application with the U.S. Forest Service to improve an old access road to reach his property so that he may develop his claim. On August 4, 2005, the Forest Service rejected Mr. Antonioli’s application stating that the proposed road improvement was not justified on the basis of what is known of the nature and extent of mineral resources on the land. Specifically, Forest Service geologists stated that there are no mineral indications on the property; however, the Forest Service performed no mineral sampling. On September 12, 2005, Mr. Antonioli filed an appeal. On October 18, 2005, the Forest Service denied his appeal and demanded that Mr. Antonioli reapply.

In his new applications, Mr. Antonioli demonstrates that he has various common law and statutory rights to access his mining claim, which was patented under the General Mining Law of 1872. Specifically, Mr. Antonioli has a guaranteed right of access under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and other Forest Service statutes. Mr. Antonioli’s claim contains gold as well as other valuable minerals.

Mountain States Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, public interest law firm dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area.

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