Save the Scenic Santa Ritas is a non-profit organization working to protect the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains from environmental degradation caused by mining and mineral exploration activities. Our current activities focus on the proposed Rosemont Copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.
Photo exhibit: Lens on the Land
Come join us at Fluxx Gallery in Tucson to see Lens on the Land -“Rosemont: What’s at Stake,” a collection of compelling photographs celebrating the cultural and ecological richness of the Santa Rita Mountains and surrounding watersheds that would be damaged or destroyed by the proposed Rosemont mine. Read more
SSSR Press Release December 13, 2013 Five facts to keep in mind about the Rosemont Mine FEIS and Record of Decision Forest Service analysis incomplete
(TUCSON, ARIZ.) The Coronado National Forest has announced the publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Draft Record of Decision for the proposed Rosemont open pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. A pre-publication version of the FEIS was posted on the Forest's website last week.
Rosemont is a long way from receiving final approval – The release of the FEIS and draft Record of Decision does not mean the Rosemont mine is going to be approved. On the contrary, it still has a long way to go. Those who submitted written comments on the Draft EIS can raise objections to the FEIS and Draft ROD. The Forest Service must address these comments in writing. Additionally, Rosemont must receive a Clean Water Act permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers to deposit potentially toxic mine waste in environmentally sensitive areas where they could threaten southern Arizona water supplies. EPA’s recommendation to the Corps that Rosemont's proposed permit not be issued is significant because the EPA has veto authority over this permit. Additionally, key state groundwater and air quality permits are under appeal. Finally, even if the Forest Service approves the project, mine opponents have the option of challenging that decision in federal court.
The FEIS is incomplete - By the Forest Service’s own admission, there are numerous significant problems with the Rosemont proposal that were raised by local, state and other federal agencies. These have not been resolved and fully addressed in the FEIS.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Says Rosemont ‘s Water Protection Plan is “Grossly Inadequate" – After conducting a comprehensive and thorough review of Rosemont's proposed water pollution mitigation plan, the EPA informed the US Army Corps of Engineers, in a November 7 letter, that Rosemont's proposed plan is "grossly inadequate" and "does not comply" with Clean Water Act Guidelines. EPA concluded that the Rosemont mine project "should not be permitted as proposed."
Tribal Nations Are Opposed to Rosemont - None of the 12 tribal nations and communities that were included in the FEIS consultation signed the Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement. To quote Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. of the Tohono O’odham Nation in a letter sent to the Coronado National Forest, the Rosemont Mine will “irrevocably alter the cultural landscape of Ce:wi Duag (Santa Rita Mountains).”
Rosemont will permanently destroy a significant portion of the Santa Rita Mountains and will dump mine waste in a critical southern Arizona watershed. Regardless of what Rosemont says about it being a 21st Century mine, it will be an old-school open pit mine that will blast a mile-wide, half-mile deep hole in the Santa Rita Mountains and bury several thousand acres of National Forests under a billion tons of potentially toxic mine wastes. In the process, it will forever destroy an irreplaceable environmental, recreational and cultural treasure while jeopardizing southern Arizona's water supplies, wildlife and economy.
NEPA update: What’s Next in the Forest Service’s Review Process for the Rosemont Mine?
The Coronado National Forest has published the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the proposed Rosemont Mine online and is expected to make some paper copies available in the next week. The FEIS should include responses to all of the substantive comments that were submitted on the Draft EIS as well as proposed changes in the alternatives and in the analysis of the impacts. At the time of publication, the Forest will publish a legal notice of both documents in the Arizona Daily Star, the newspaper of record for this area. The notice will include a statement that objections to the FEIS must be filed within 45 days of the date of the newspaper notice. Once the legal notice is published, the 45-day clock will start ticking. We expect the deadline for objections to be February 14, 2014. This deadline cannot be extended. (Read more...)
Press Release: November 27, 2013
Rosemont Mine "Not a Done Deal" Forest Service admits it failed to address threats to southern Arizona environment and economy
(TUCSON, ARIZ) The U.S. Forest Service today announced that it was posting the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Rosemont Mine on its website for public review. However, the Forest Service also indicated that it was not releasing the draft Record of Decision (ROD) until mid-December. The Forest Service will not issue a final decision until well into 2014 after the public has had an opportunity to review this latest proposal and the agency addresses any objections that are raised. In addition, there are other regulatory approvals that must be obtained before the mine can proceed, including a critical water permit that the EPA recently recommended be denied. (Read more...)
Press Release: November 20, 2013
EPA Recommends Against Federal Water Permit for Rosemont Mine
Mine would cause "substantial and unacceptable impact" to southern Arizona water supplies
(TUCSON, Ariz.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dealt a dramatic and potentially devastating blow to Augusta Resource Corporation's proposal to build the Rosemont mine, a massive open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains just south of Tucson.
After completing a comprehensive and detailed analysis, EPA concluded that Rosemont's proposals to mitigate the mine's severe and permanent damage to area water supplies are "scientifically flawed" and "grossly inadequate," and advised the Corps of Engineers that the project "should not be permitted as proposed."
The EPA's recommendation to deny Rosemont's permit application is a potentially devastating blow to the mining project because EPA has veto authority over the permit, which would be issued by the Corps of Engineers only if the proposed mine meets Clean Water Act standards. The permit is required before construction could begin on the mile-wide, half-mile deep open pit mine.
EPA was highly critical of all three components of Rosemont's mitigation proposal, undermining the company's high-profile attempts to claim that the mine will comply with environmental standards. In particular, EPA said that it agreed with the Corps of Engineers that two of the three sites Rosemont was proposing to acquire (Sonoita Creek Ranch and Mulberry Canyon) "would not provide appropriate compensatory mitigation for impacts to waters from the Rosemont Mine project."
With respect to the third proposed Rosemont mitigation acquisition (water rights and land below Pantano Dam), the EPA indicated that it might have some mitigation value for a much smaller project ("e.g., flood control or highway project") but "is inadequate compensation for impacts proposed to be permitted at Rosemont Mine."
EPA's recommendation to deny the Clean Water Act permits comes at an inopportune time for Augusta Resource, Rosemont Copper's parent company. Its stock is hovering at a 52-week low and the company reported less than $750,000 in cash reserves as of Sept. 30, according to regulatory filings released last week.
Augusta's cash crisis raises serious questions as to whether Augusta will have the financial capacity to secure technical expertise to address EPA's latest criticisms of the crucial Clean Water Act permit.
The full EPA letter and analysis can be downloaded at:
“Cyanide Beach” documentary wins “Best Education Film” at Yosemite International Film Festival
InvestigativeMEDIA is pleased to announce that its documentary film “Cyanide Beach” has been named “Best Education Film” in the 2013 Yosemite International Film Festival. The Yosemite festival awards recognition for some of the world's finest and most visionary independent films made by many of the leading contemporary artists and creative minds working in cinema and screenwriting today.
“Cyanide Beach” is InvestigativeMEDIA’s first documentary film. The video tells the story of how the same Canadian businessman who are seeking state and federal permits to construct a massive open pit copper mine in Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest south of Tucson, Arizona operated a now abandoned gold mine in Sardinia, Italy.
InvestigativeMEDIA’s editor John Dougherty and photographer and videographer Liz Allen traveled to Sardinia in May 2011 to investigate what happened at the shuttered gold mine near the farming village of Furtei.
The 27-minute film was shot almost entirely with a hand-held Sony Handycam digital camera. The documentary was screened at theaters and private showings throughout southern Arizona in the fall of 2012 and was broadcast twice on a Tucson television station. The film was also screened last April in Berkeley, Calif. and in Washington, D.C.
“Cyanide Beach” was released on Youtube last December and has nearly 7,000 views, including many from Romania, where the film is being used to help stop development of a major gold mine by another Canadian company.
Watch Cyanide Beach, an explosive documentary from award-winning investigative journalist, John Dougherty. The film chronicles the deceptive business tactics of top executives at Augusta Resource Corporation - owner of Rosemont Copper - when they owned and operated an open-pit gold mine in Sardinia Italy from 2003-07. You’ll see their trail of unpaid vendors, a misspent government loan, hidden investors, and a toxic mess that locals call "Cyanide Beach."
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas releases Investor Update on Augusta Resource Corporation
Today, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR), a non-profit environmental organization comprised of ranchers, small business owners and community members opposing the proposed massive Rosemont open-pit copper mine released an Investor Update on Augusta Resource. This Investor Update can be accessed by clicking here.
Augusta Resource, a junior Canadian mining company, is seeking through its Rosemont Copper subsidiary, permits to build a massive open-pit copper mine on 4,000-acres in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest just south of Tucson.
This Investor Update provides current and potential investors with essential information that the company may not have provided in its investor relations efforts. It is not intended to provide investment advice, but rather to share critical information upon which to base future decisions.
The Investor Update describes important actions concerning Augusta’s proposal, provides an overview of the company and the questionable background of key officers, and identifies unresolved regulatory issues that could block approval of the mine. The information in the update is robustly sourced having been derived from regulatory records, Augusta Resource’s financial filings, and technical reports and various media accounts.
The proposed mine would have devastating impacts on Southern Arizona’s water, air, wildlife and economy and there is unprecedented opposition. Political, business, tribal and environmental leaders have joined with citizens from all walks of life to oppose this project. Their opposition is based on its impacts to the quality of life and economy of both current and future Southern Arizona residents and businesses.
Because of its devastating impacts on the Santa Rita Mountains and threats to regional water resources, BankTrack, a global network that tracks the environmental impacts of the financial sector is closely following the proposed Rosemont Copper mine. Click here to read the BankTrack report on the Rosemont project.
SSSR is a non-profit organization working to protect the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains from environmental degradation caused by mining and mineral exploration activities. Our current activities are focused on the proposed Rosemont Copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.
Press Release: Sept. 16, 2013
Forest Service Makes the Right Call on Rosemont Mine “Unresolved legal requirements” preventing release of environmental analysis
(Tucson, Ariz.) The Forest Service’s announcement today that it is delaying the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Rosemont copper mine is a major victory for citizens concerned about the environmental and economic threats posed by a massive open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.
The Forest Service’s decision allows the agency more time to fully and accurately address the significant criticisms leveled at the Forest Service’s most recent analysis of this project by 11 local, state, tribal and federal agencies.
“The Forest Service made the right call on not rushing the Rosemont FEIS out before its serious deficiencies were addressed,” said Gayle Hartmann, President of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas. “When 11 of 13 agencies asked by the Forest Service to review its latest draft all weigh in with significant criticisms, you know there's a big problem. It's time for an analysis that fully identifies the severe, unavoidable and permanent adverse impacts that the Rosemont Mine would have on southern Arizona's air quality, water supplies and economy.”
Today’s announcement means that the consideration of the Rosemont project will fall under new Forest Service administrative appeals regulations. These regulations require that objections to the proposed project must be addressed before a final, Record of Decision is issued.
The new regulations allow members of the public and organizations that submitted timely comments to the draft environmental impact studies to object to provisions in the FEIS. The Forest Service must answer the objections in writing. The objection and review process must be completed within 120 days after publishing the FEIS. The Forest Service cannot issue a Record of Decision on the proposed mine until the objection and review process is completed.
Augusta Resource's Rosemont copper mine facing questions and mounting opposition
TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Two Arizona Congressmen and a southern Arizona county executive have raised serious questions about Rosemont Copper Company and its proposed copper mine near Tucson. Read full press releaseor download the release here.
Update on Rosemont's Air Quality Permit application
The deadline to submit comments to ADEQ on Rosemont's proposed air quality permit has passed. If you would like to view the comments submitted by SSSR and our broader coalition, they may be downloaded here:
What would happen if a haboob were to sweep across Rosemont's proposed massive "dry stack" waste dump? It would spread poisonous dust and debris across nearby communities, including Tucson. Check out the below video!
PRESS RELEASE - 11/2/12
Air permit for Rosemont Mine threatens public health and air quality
Letter from 130 Southern Arizona residents and organizations asks State to withdraw draft permit
(Tucson, Ariz.) A broad-based citizen’s coalition, citing threats to public health and air quality in southern Arizona, is calling on the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to withdraw a draft air quality permit for the proposed massive open-pit mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.
Local Coalition Files Appeal to Protect Tucson and Southern Arizona Water Supplies
A diverse coalition of southern Arizonans charged today that a key water quality permit will allow Rosemont Copper Company to pollute area groundwater supplies with mercury, arsenic, lead and other dangerous contaminants —without oversight or consequence—for at least two years after mining operations begin.
Latest News: Augusta Resource’s Proposed Rosemont Mine In Trouble
EPA: Deficiencies in critical Clean Water Act permit “could provide an adequate basis for permit denial”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week warned that Augusta Resource Corporation’s proposed Rosemont Copper Mine may not obtain a key water quality permit needed to build the mine because of its potential impacts on "aquatic resources of national importance". The EPA letter, sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, stated that the deficiencies in Rosemont’s Clean Water Act Section 404 application “could provide an adequate basis for permit denial…”. The mine cannot be built without the 404 permit.
Now that the comment periods are over for the Forest Service Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit, and ADEQ's aquifer protection permit, these agencies will be reviewing public comments and will come to some decisions.The next step for the Forest Service is to write a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which will go out for public review and comment before a record of decision is signed. However, several of the cooperating agencies have asked that a supplemental Impact statement be written first (and many people made comments asking for this as well), and the Forest Service has hinted that this may be a possibility. If a Supplemental EIS is written, there will need to be public review and comment on the supplement before the Final is written, and the Forest Service would likely hold a series of public meetings.
The next step for the Army Corps will be deciding whether to grant the permit or not. The Corps has no time limit and it may ask for more information before making a decision.The Army Corps is not bound by the 1872 Mining Law, so they have every right to deny the permit. If the permit is denied, it would be extremely difficult for the project to move forward!
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas 8987 E. Tanque Verde #309-157, Tucson, Arizona 85749 Phone: 520-445-6615 Email: email@example.com All rights reserved. *Save the Scenic Santa Ritas and SSSR are trademarks of the Save the Scenic Santa Ritas Association