(Tucson, Ariz.) Below is the statement of Gayle Hartmann, President of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR) regarding the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ’s) decision to issue the air quality permit for the proposed Rosemont Copper mine.
Once again, Rosemont’s PR spin has gotten ahead of the facts. According to their previous press releases, they should have already been mining and destroying the Santa Ritas years ago.
ADEQ’s approval of this permit is not surprising. This agency has been decimated by budget cuts, and is beholden to the regulated entities that pay the permitting fees to keep it afloat.
We will closely examine this permit and determine our next steps including an appeal.
This mine is far from a certainty.
The Forest Service has indefinitely postponed completion of the environmental analysis of the Rosemont project and a decision on it.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to include the mine site as critical habit for the endangered jaguar. There is indisputable photographic evidence that only known jaguar remaining in North America spends time near the proposed Rosemont project.
In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has seriously questioned the federal Clean Water Act permit that Rosemont needs to obtain from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. EPA has veto power over any Clean Water Act permit issued by the Corps.
The bottom line is that this mine threatens our air, our mountains, along with the lives and livelihoods of those who live and work here. Rosemont thinks they can wear us down, but they underestimate our resilience.