I haven’t seen a diary on this subject, so I thought I would post one, though I have never posted a diary before.
Rosemont Copper, a Canadian company owned by Augusta Resources, is proposing a huge open pit copper mine in the Santa Rita mountains just south of Tucson. They will be turning 5,000 acres of National Forest Land into an open pit mine. There will be a few short term jobs created, and a massive mess left behind when they are done...
Those of us in opposition to the mine have pinned our hopes on the Forest Service’s Environmental Impact Study. And they did indeed identify many serious negative impacts.
But the Forest Service says they have no legal right to stop the mine...
Here are some quotes from a story in the local Tucson Arizona Daily Star:
The federal government can't say "no" to the proposed Rosemont Mine, despite potential negative impacts to the air, groundwater, canyons, plant and animal life, cultural resources, scenic views and dark skies, the U.S. Forest Service says.
The report says the mine could diminish groundwater supplies on both sides of the Santa Ritas, pollute the air, impair visibility as far away as Saguaro National Park West and Chiricahua National Monument, harm several endangered or otherwise imperiled species, and destroy dozens of cultural resource sites sacred to the Tohono O'odham Nation. It could dry up seeps and springs and will worsen traffic on Arizona 83, although not to unacceptable levels, the report says.
The new document's bottom line: The Forest Service has legal limits to its discretion when reviewing a mining plan. It can reject an unreasonable plan but can't categorically stop ore processing or waste disposal "or deny reasonable and legal mineral operations under the mining laws." To make that case, the document points to the U.S.'s 1872 Mining Law and a series of later laws and regulations.
It is mind boggling to me how our Forest Service can have no power to stop the destruction of 5,000 acres of National Forest. I have been told that it isn't a done deal, but its not looking good right now.
If interested, those of you in AZ should contact your local politicians at the State and County Level. Pima County has been for the most part fighting the project.
And I would encourage everyone to contact their congresspersons to repeal this antiquated 1872 mining law.
My Congressman Gabrielle Gifford’s was working to oppose it. Here is a letter she sent to the State Legislature which was pushing for it:
Raul Grijalva, bless his soul, one of the few politicians to be proud of in the land of AZ, has co-sponsored legislation with Gabrielle to withdraw public lands from mining. This actually passed in the house, but didn't go any further.
This is a group opposed to the mine: Save The Santa Ritas