(TUCSON, Ariz.) Yesterday, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, the Center for Biological Diversity, Arizona Mining Reform Coalition, and the Sierra Club/Grand Canyon Chapter sent a letter to key federal officials putting them on notice that they intend to challenge in federal court the U.S. Forest Service’s illegal approval of the proposed Rosemont Mine.
The notice sent by the groups’ attorney highlights the immense amount of technical data documenting the significant and devastating impacts that will be caused by Rosemont in violation of federal law.
Earlier this year, the Coronado National Forest issued the final “Record of Decision” (ROD) for the proposed Rosemont Mine incorrectly asserting that the project complies with existing environmental laws and regulations and thus should proceed.
The “sixty-day notice of intent to sue” sets out, in detail, that the Forest Service’s approval of the Rosemont ROD “violat[ed] applicable state and federal water quality standards and requirements and the Clean Water Act.” The letter states that the Forest Service has 60 days to revoke its illegal approval or the groups will take action to challenge the ROD in federal district court. A similar letter regarding the Rosemont Mine’s violation of the Endangered Species Act was submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity in June.
In addition to the Forest Service, the legal notice was sent to key officials in the Department of Agriculture, the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
The proposed open-pit copper mine would blast a mile-wide, ½ mile deep pit in the Santa Rita Mountains and would pile potentially toxic mine tailings and waste rock 700 to 800 feet high in a watershed that provides groundwater recharge to the Tucson Basin.
[Editors Note: Copy of the letter can be obtained by clicking here]
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.