For Immediate Release, November 21, 2011
Contact: Randy Serraglio, (520) 784-1504
Hundreds of Arizona Residents Turn Out Against Rosemont Mine
TUCSON, Ariz.— Hundreds of area residents opposed to the proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson, Ariz., swarmed a public hearing Saturday held by the Coronado National Forest. Dozens of speakers outlined a litany of concerns with the project, including air and water pollution and other health hazards, depletion of groundwater supplies, negative economic impacts, traffic hazards and the destruction of thousands of acres of national forest that include a major wildlife movement corridor and habitat for several threatened and endangered species.
“Southern Arizona residents clearly don’t want this dangerous and polluting mine,” said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The people living nearby, who would be most directly affected by the Rosemont mine, are vehemently opposed. They don’t believe Rosemont Copper’s empty promises and they certainly don’t want the massive pollution and destruction of public lands that are part of the deal.”
The Forest Service again displayed questionable judgment in how it’s conducting the public process.
“Last week, the Forest Service allowed the company’s supporters to show up early and stuff the comment box to ensure that their speakers monopolized the microphone,” said Serraglio. “This week, local residents showed up early with cards filled out so we’d have a chance to speak, but found the doors locked in our faces. The Coronado tried to pull the rug out from under us again by changing the rules.”
Regardless, only two of the first 30 speakers spoke in favor of the mine. The rest cited a host of concerns with the proposal, including: the massive volume of precious groundwater it would use, public health concerns over air and water pollution, unproven technology being touted by the company, and damage by large-truck traffic to a state-designated scenic highway that is the economic lifeblood of the Sonoita-Patagonia area near the mine.
Opponents also assailed the “draft environmental impact statement” as incomplete and badly flawed.
“The Forest Service’s draft analysis of this project downplays or ignores just about every concern about public health, the environment and wildlife,” said Serraglio. “But no matter how much lipstick the Forest Service and Rosemont Copper put on this project, it’s still a pig.”
See video highlights of the hearing here: