Oppose the Rosemont Mine – public meetings Dec 1st, 7th, 8th, 10th

posted Monday, November 28, 2011        

Thursday, Dec. 1, at Corona Foothills Middle School, 16705 S. Houghton Rd., from 5 to 9 PM (and see comments below for further meetings at other locations)

From: Keith Willmarth <canduthis(at)toast.net>
Subject: Oppose the Rosemont Mine

I am sending this message to mobilize informed opposition to the proposed Rosemont Mine. Several organizations, in particular Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, are doing yeoman work for the same purpose. I was only slightly acquainted with this issue until a few weeks ago. As I‘ve become more fully informed, I feel impelled to do what I can so that this mine will not become a reality.

The National Forest Service held its first public meeting, on November 12, to hear comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Rosemont copper mine. (View the DEIS at www.rosemonteis.us). The Arizona Daily Star reported that comments ran 50 to 6 in favor of the project. However, all major local news media completely ignored the second meeting, held a week later at Empire High School, at which a huge majority in the packed hall, at least 3 to 1, opposed the project.

Whatever their reasons for failing to cover the second meeting, it’s important to ensure that:

· There is an even greater turnout at the next meeting, on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Corona Foothills Middle School, 16705 S. Houghton Rd., from 5 to 9 PM.

· The media show up at subsequent public meetings on this issue

· Local residents express their opposition to Rosemont in other ways, through written statements, phone calls, networking, etc.

There are many good reasons to oppose the Rosemont Mine:

1. The sheer size of the tract of land within Coronado National Forest which would be obliterated: roughly seven square miles, including a vast pit half-a-mile deep and over a mile wide.

2. It would suck an enormous quantity of groundwater from the Earth — many times more than the annual usage of Nogales, for example — for the profit of a single company.

3. It will be across the road from one of the few protected and relatively undisturbed riparian areas left in the desert Southwest. A more incompatible land use than the mine is hard to imagine.

4. It would significantly reduce the night sky darkness, to the detriment of astronomical research in southern Arizona, and to the dismay of campers and nearby residents.

5. Rosemont has latched onto the premise that hybrid cars use three times as much copper as conventional cars, to greenwash the public. Considering the heavy machinery, small army of large trucks, plant-site emissions, electricity, de-vegetation, etc. that would be required, it is most doubtful that the mine would contribute to fighting climate change..

6. The scale of environmental degradation which would occur due to the Rosemont Mine runs contrary to the stated mission of the Forest Service to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands for present and future generations.” Rights granted by the Mining Act of 1872 do not pre-empt the provisions of the Forest Service Act.

7. Mitigation plans are not insurance against environmental damage. The largest EPA Superfund site is the result of copper mining (The Upper Clark Fork River Superfund Site in Montana). In 1990, at the Ray Mine near Kearny, AZ, rainwater washed 324,000 gallons of wastewater loaded with copper sulfates into the Gila River.

8. Rosemont’s boasts of long-term job creation are conjectural. Copper prices are currently at a peak; consequently there is a clamor of activity to develop new mines and expand production at existing ones. In Arizona alone, at least four other new copper mine proposals are seeking regulatory approval. Resolution Copper reports that their planned mine could supply 25% of expected US demand for decades. When prices drop with rising supply, or for any other reason, some mines can be expected to close.

9. The economic viability of the Rosemont Mine over its projected 20-year productive life is questionable, since it depends on the continued growth of the US and global economies. But we know that the perpetual growth paradigm is unrealistic on a finite planet. There are portents of a global ecological and economic crash, possibly in the near future. Projects like the Rosemont Mine are obsolescent.

There are numerous other reasons. Your reason here: info(at)rosemonteis.us

If your schedule allows, please come to the public meeting this Thursday evening, to
let your views be known. I’m supporting Project Alternative 1 – no action!!


Keith Willmarth

P.S. — I welcome passengers in my car as long as there is room.

One comment about “Oppose the Rosemont Mine – public meetings Dec 1st, 7th, 8th, 10th” ...

Hello Sustainable Tucson,

Thanks for posting my previous letter. It gave a real boost to the online presence of opposition to Rosemont. I have an update to post if you wish.

I discovered two factual mistakes in the first letter, and I apologize for these:
1) The actual amount of groundwater that would be pumped for mine use is larger than that of Nogales, but not “many times” larger. It could be corrected by just deleting those words.
2) There is no “Forest Service Act” per se. The national forests evolved from several different acts and in fact came into existence after the Mining Act of 1872.
The first sentence of item 6 is valid, but the 2nd one would be better deleted.

Keith Willmarth

The follow-up letter starts here:

Attendance was strong at the 3rd public meeting for comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Rosemont Mine. The meeting took place Thursday evening, Dec. 1st, at Corona Foothills Middle School. By this participant’s count, mine opponents slightly edged out supporters, by about 35 to 32.

Just ahead are three more public meetings in four days:

December 7, 2011
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Benson High School, Benson, AZ

December 8, 2011
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Green Valley Recreation, West Social Center, Green Valley, AZ

December 10, 2011
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Elgin Elementary School, Elgin, AZ

Please let your voice be heard.

The biggest carrot wielded by Rosemont is the premise that the mine would create lots of jobs. This argument can be demolished in one paragraph. Suppose for the moment that Rosemont’s estimate of 2,100 jobs created (406 direct, 1700 indirect) was achieved. Now suppose that for every 2,100 jobs in southern Arizona, an equivalent amount of vegetation obliteration, air pollution, groundwater drawdown, scenic despoilment, toxic waste generation, dark sky reduction, recreational resource loss, blasting noise, and heavy truck traffic was “achieved”. Southern Arizona would be a wasteland, a “pit”, literally and figuratively. These 2,100 jobs come at much too high a price.

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