Friday, March 2, 2012| Posted:
Recently, many of us received letters from Rosemont Copper Co. offering us the deal of the century: For a fistful of dollars now, give up forever all claims against the company’s proposed open-pit copper mine for depleting our drinking-water wells.
Sticking to its callous marketing gambit that if it throws enough money around in Southern Arizona it will eventually win acceptance for its mine monstrosity, Rosemont Copper is offering up to $20,000 to well owners to buy our silence.
Rosemont claims it is very unlikely that any of our wells will be damaged over the next 50 years from the massive open-pit copper mine it wants to gouge into the Santa Rita Mountains. The company touts studies (it paid for) as proof there is no reason to worry. According to Montgomery and Associates, a consulting firm paid by Augusta Resource/Rosemont Copper, our water level drawdown in the vicinity of the mine 150 years after active mining, is predicted to be only five feet.
But, at the same time, it’s abundantly clear that Rosemont wants to mitigate any potential long-term liability that could result if its studies don’t pan out and the true impact to the groundwater is far, far worse and pervasive, as many experts believe it will be.
The Sonoran Institute states, in its environmental impact report, that the worse-case scenario could be a drawdown as much as 880 meters (2,890 feet) below the land surface at the mine site.
So Rosemont comes to us with a “well protection plan” under the guise of helping its “neighbors.” But the only entity that will be protected by this plan is Rosemont.
Rosemont’s fat-cat executives, working out of a waterfront skyscraper in lush Vancouver, B.C., must think the only thing that matters to us Arizona hayseeds is cold hard cash.
Free lunches and hazy offers of future jobs might work for a while on the margins, but when it comes to giving up water rights, the Augusta Resource Corp. speculators that own Rosemont Copper obviously don’t understand Arizona.
Here in the Southwest, we desert dwellers proudly adapt to water conservation. Low-flow faucets, 1 1/2 gallon flushes, xeriscape gardening and drip irrigation are part of our way of life.
Without water to our homes, the lives we have forged in the desert grasslands will come to an end. Many of us moved here to live out our lives. We hope that our children and grandchildren will some day love the Sonoran Desert as much as we do now.
Without water, our property will be worthless. Our dreams shattered. The fruits we hope to pass to the next generation left to rot.
Rosemont’s offer is really nothing more than a thinly veiled bribe that makes every fiber in my body clinch with rage and steels me to fight to the end to stop this mine.
Hey Rosemont: Your investors’ money won’t buy our cooperation while you destroy our environment. Thanks, but NO THANKS.
This guest opinion column was written by Gregory and Carol Shinsky in alliance with Hillton Ranch and surrounding community residents. Email the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org