Tucson filmmaker Leslie Epperson has produced a beautiful new short film about Rosemont entitled Long Mountain, featuring Tohono O’odham leader Austin Nuñez and activists in our coalition speaking about the proposed mine and the special values of our beloved Santa Rita Mountains. Enjoy!
We are excited to report another major win in the fight to protect the Santa Ritas: this week a federal judge ordered federal wildlife officials to redo their analysis of potential effects on jaguars and other endangered species. This ruling overturns yet another key permit the proposed Mine would need in order to operate, saying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used an improper evaluation standard and now must “reconsider whether the Rosemont Mine is ‘likely’ to result in destruction or adverse modification of the jaguar’s critical habitat” and impact other endangered species. Please see the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity for more info.
This ruling follows another from this past July that halted construction of the proposed mine, which Hudbay and the federal government appealed.
Regarding this appeal (originally filed in Nov. 2017 challenging the Forest Service’s approval of the mine), we now have a schedule for that case in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – not definitive, but at least a general time frame:
- April 4th, 2020, OPENING BRIEFS from Hudbay and the Feds
- Approximately 60 days after that – about June 3rd, 2020 — OUR RESPONSE will be due
- Oral arguments probably not until late in 2020 or even into 2021
We’ll post any updates as they are announced, and will continue to celebrate each victory we have that protects our beloved Santa Ritas.
Until then, all quiet on the Rosemont front,
Gayle Hartmann, President
Dec. 5th, 2019
TUCSON, Ariz.— In response to a petition and lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, two southern Arizona plants were proposed for Endangered Species Act protection today.
Bartram’s stonecrop and beardless chinchweed are two of a dozen imperiled animals and plants threatened by the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine near Tucson, which would impact more than 145,000 acres of wildlife habitat.
Beardless chinchweed, a type of sunflower, would be protected as endangered with 10,604 acres of critical habitat. Bartram’s stonecrop would be protected as threatened.
Well owners east of Sahuarita who have had their maintenance and repair bills picked up by Rosemont copper mine for the past decade will have to go it alone, at least for now.
Mine owner HudBay Minerals said in a letter dated Nov. 26 it is suspending its agreement as of Dec. 31, because “we no longer have the Forest Service approvals required to begin mining activities on the federal lands.”
The Rosemont Residential Water Well Protection Plan went into effect Dec. 1, 2009, between Rosemont Copper Co. and 313 families on 144 residential wells in Sahuarita Heights. The agreement remained intact when HudBay bought the mine site in 2014.
On Friday, 25 October, Judge James Soto’s issued his response to Hudbay’s motion for reconsideration. He only took 1 ½ pages to deny it. He briefly summarized the law on the subject and made several statements including:
- “motions for reconsideration should be granted only in rare circumstances,”
- “nor may a motion for reconsideration repeat any argument previously made in support of or in opposition to a motion,” and
- “mere disagreement with a previous order is an insufficient basis for reconsideration.”
His conclusion: “The Court has reviewed the record in this case. The Court finds no basis to reconsider its decision. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Rosemont’s motion for reconsideration is …denied.”
He also denied Rosemont/Hudbay’s request for oral argument by saying, “Because the briefing (that is, what was presented in writing and verbally in court) is adequate and oral argument will not help in resolving this matter, oral argument is denied.”
Judge Soto’s decision was not really a surprise, but we are pleased to see it. It seemed as if Rosemont/Hudbay was just using the request for reconsideration as a stalling tactic. But, now the 60-day clock starts ticking; i.e., Rosemont/Hudbay have 60 days to file an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Soto’s 31 July decision. They will very likely do that. It is our understanding that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is very backlogged and, thus, this case will not be heard for at least 18 months. Our legal beagle guys and gals are keeping a close eye on everything.
For more info, see the latest news article in the Arizona Daily Star: