Group acts to protect unique snails
GREEN VALLEY — The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday filed an Endangered Species Act listing petition seeking protection for two species of talus snails.
The group claims the snails are threatened by the proposed Rosemont copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, 30 miles southeast of Tucson.
The group says the Rosemont talus snail is only found in the Rosemont area, meaning the proposed mine could cause its extinction. The Sonoran talus snail is found in the Rosemont area, in the Tumacacori Mountains and in the San Cayetano Mountains near Rio Rico.
The mine is proposed by the Rosemont Copper Co., a subsidiary of Augusta Resource Corp.
THE LOCAL ANGLE
At least three chunks of federal land in Cochise County are designated as critical habitat for the Mexican spotted owl. This requires federal agencies to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that anything they do, including issuing permits for activities on federal lands, does not destroy the habitat. Many ranchers in Cochise County lease grazing land from the federal government.
A federal court earlier this month upheld the decision to designate 8.6 million acres in the Southwest as critical habitat for the owl. An Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association challenge to the designation was turned down by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
© 2009 The Sierra Vista Herald
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