Rosemont Mine opponents begin legal action to overturn Forest Service approval of Hudbay’s $1.9 billion copper project

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Rosemont Mine opponents have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service for approving initial plans to construct the proposed $1.9 billion open-pit copper mine on the Coronado National Forest in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson.

The Aug. 3 legal notice was prepared by The Western Mining Action Project of Lyons, Colo. and was written by attorneys Roger Flynn and Jeffrey C. Parsons.

The notice was filed on behalf of four Arizona conservation groups opposed to the mine including Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, Center for Biological Diversity, Arizona Mining Reform Coalition and Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. is seeking state and federal permits to construct the mine that is projected to produce about 240 million pounds of copper a year. The Coronado National Forest approved a “Final Record of Decision” last June.

The Western Mining Action Project’s notice alleges the Forest Service violated the Clean Water Act when it issued the final Record of Decision (ROD). The filing states that the Forest Service approval was based, in part, on a “fundamental misunderstanding of federal law.”

“The Rosemont Project as authorized in the Forest Service ROD will violate applicable state and federal water quality standards and requirements and the (Clean Water Act) and its implementing regulations,” the notice states.

The notice gives the Forest Service 60 days to revoke the ROD or the conservation groups will file suit in federal district court.

Coronado National Forest Supervisor Kerwin Dewberry stated in his June Record of Decision that he had no legal choice but to approve Hudbay’s initial mining plan.

“I cannot select the no action alternative for implementation because Federal law provides the right for a proponent to develop the mineral resources it owns and to use the surface of its unpatented mining claims for mining and processing operations and reasonably incidental uses,” Dewberry’s decision states.

The Forest Service issued the ROD before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined whether to issue a Clean Water Act permit that would allow the Rosemont Mine to destroy desert riparian water resources in the Santa Rita Mountains.

The Army Corps’ Los Angeles district office recommended in July 2016 that Hudbay’s request for the permit be denied.

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3 Responses to Rosemont Mine opponents begin legal action to overturn Forest Service approval of Hudbay’s $1.9 billion copper project

  1. Harrison E & Mary F Johnson says:

    Keep up the good work ! As two seniors who raised their family near Rosemont Junction, we hiked, camped, picnicked, and reveled in the beauty of this area with our 3 children in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we hope that this site will eventually return to its natural state ( a travesty to turn this incredibly lovely scenic area into a huge copper mine ). It so easily could have been a county park in the national forest, and thus saved forever. Our county and city leaders had an easy opportunity to save this area for the people of Tucson and Arizona for only $11 million dollars. Where were they? What kind of payoffs did they get? I’m sorry that I am so cynical about this, but in our times today in the 21st century our beautiful natural lands seem to be headed for devastation. With such negative grasping selfish attitudes so prevalent in our country today, I fear for the future of our nation for my grandchildren.

  2. thomas stewart says:

    Good Golly You Can Thank The Best President In US History Donald J. Trump!! Rosemont Mine, Keep Your Area Clean And Good Luck With Your Mine.

  3. ALAN JOHNSON says:

    IT SEEMS STRANGE THAT MAJOR LEGAL ACTION WOULD BE TAKEN BEFORE THE ARMY CORP MAKES ITS FINAL DECISION ON THE WATER PERMIT . IF THE ARMY CORP REFUSES THE WATER PERMIT , THE ROSEMONT PROJECT IS ” DEAD IN THE WATER “(no pun intended ” AND THERE WOULD BE NO NEED TO REVOKE THE ROD AS IT WOULD NO LONGER BE VALID . . IT IS THEN UP TO HUDBAY TO CHALLENGE SUCH A DECISION THROUGH LEGAL ACTION AND THE COURTS . THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THEY WOULD PROBABLY DO AS THEY HAVE DEEP POCKETS . THE ROD SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ISSUED WHILE THE DECISION FROM THE ARMY CORP REMAINS PENDING . AGAIN , IT IS A CASE OF PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE . THE ” 60 DAY ” NOTICE IS VERY SHORT CONSIDERING HOW LONG IT TOOK THE FOREST SERVICE TO ISSUE THE ROD . GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WORK ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN TIME FRAME AND TEND TO DRAG THINGS OUT ENDLESSLY . I HOPE THAT THIS CHALLENGE PRODUCES THE DESIRED RESULTS AND I TAKE MY HAT OFF TO ALL THOSE WHO PUT THIS CHALLENGE TOGETHER AND STAND FULLY UNITED BEHIND IT . THIS EFFORT MAKES A REAL RALLYING POINT IN THE ROSEMONT SAGA . GET OUT AND SUPPORT IT .