Disclosed Documents Refute Senators, Representative’s Claims on Forest Service Environmental Impact Documents
Posted on Rosemontminetruth.com on Sept. 1, 2011
Environmental Impact Report Delayed by Rosemont Copper’s Failure to Comply with Agency’s Requests
According to an article published in the Arizona Daily Star, a letter sent by Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl along with Representative (and Senate candidate) Jeff Flake blames the Forest Service for the delay in the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Rosemont Copper Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson.
This Congressional letter, however, does NOT disclose that Rosemont Copper has, in fact, contributed significantly to these delays. According to publicly available Freedom Information Act (FOIA) documents consisting of internal Forest Service emails and Rosemont project meeting documents, there is ample evidence that Rosemont Copper has slowed down this EIS process.
These documents refer to Rosemont’s “dawdling”, timeline delays resulting from Rosemont not providing needed reports, and that the Forest Service made “repeated request for reports” from Rosemont.
“As indicated by this letter, Senators McCain and Kyl and Rep. Flake are apparently more concerned about expediting the Rosemont Copper project to enrich their investors than ensuring that the devastating and permanent environmental impacts are analyzed”, said Frances Causey of Rosemont Mine Truth.
Tony Davis, Arizona Daily Star
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Arizona’s U.S. senators and a Phoenix-area congressman want the U.S. Forest Service to provide a clear schedule for release of its draft environmental impact statement on the proposed Rosemont Mine.
In response, the Forest Service said Wednesday that it will release the report in time for a 90-day public-comment period to start in October.
“We have seen the Forest Service commit publicly to a schedule for completing the EIS, only to announce several months later the need to revise it,” said an Aug. 19 letter from Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl and Rep. Jeff Flake, all Republicans, sent to the agency. “The EIS for the Rosemont project began in 2008 and still, after nearly three years, not even a draft has been released to the public. Although we understand the complexity of the project may have warranted revisions to your timetables, it is difficult to understand why the Forest Service continues to push back the release date.”
The service first proposed to release the draft in November 2009. The release has been repeatedly delayed, as the issues surrounding the open-pit copper mine – proposed for the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson – grew more complex.
The most recent delay was due to a 30-day extension of time for 18 local, state and federal agencies to comment on a preliminary draft environmental report, which the Arizona Daily Star reported on in June.
Fifteen of those agencies have sent comments on nearly 900 points including air quality, transportation, surface and groundwater uses, water quality and other issues, Forest Service spokesman Joe Walsh said in a statement Wednesday.
The service has scheduled internal briefings on the report within the Obama administration over the next several weeks, Walsh said.
But the continuing delays are disappointing to Arizonans, whether they support or oppose the mind, said the letter from the senators and Flake. That’s because the draft environmental statement is the public’s chance to comment on the merits of various mine alternatives and the adequacy of information provided, those officials said.
A mine opponent, Vail community activist Elizabeth Webb, countered, “I would rather see a document that is done correctly than one that is rushed due to political pressure.”
Contact reporter Tony Davis at email@example.com or 806-7746.