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Arizona Public Media, September 29, 2010

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Stops Asarco Plan To Expand Ray Mine North of Tucson
By Mark Duggan

Court upholds earlier decision halting a proposed land exchange between the Bureau of Land Management and the mining corporation.

The panel’s decision overturns the BLM’s plans to swap more than 10,000 acres of public land near the towns of Hayden and Winkelman for 7,300 acres of private land. Asarco first proposed the land exchange 16 years ago. The mining company asked for the swap in order consolidate its operations at the Ray Mine Complex.

The court ruled the BLM’s environmental impact statement was flawed.

We spoke with Taylor McKinnon from the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, who calls the ruling is a victory for public lands and wildlife. And Sandy Bahr, with the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, says the 1782 Mining Law allows agencies like the BLM to give short shrift to environmental oversight, and public interest.

Listen to the story.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton