In Wednesday’s Green Valley News, Rosemont Vice President Jaime Sturgess said that concerns about Rosemont’s participation in the Forest Service’s cooperating agency meeting were “crazy.” He said, “[w]e go to meetings when we’re invited and we’re required to attend them. The whole thing is crazy. Our Memorandum of Understanding (with the Forest Service) requires us to attend those meetings.”Uh Jaime, two things. First, you confirmed that Rosemont did indeed participate in these meetings. Second, you should have read the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before selling your PR spin to this reporter. It specifically says, that a protocol guiding communications between the Forest Service, Rosemont and the contractor preparing the EIS “will be determined considering the complexity of the proposed action, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and related agency guidance.”
The purpose of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) is to ensure that when federal agencies seek to obtain advice and recommendations on an issue, the interests of the public will be represented and heard. The goal is to ensure that decisions are not inappropriately influenced by “insiders” that will benefit from these decisions (i.e. Rosemont Copper) to the detriment of the taxpaying public.
In developing its Environmental Impact Statement regarding the Rosemont mine, the Forest Service is required to meet with cooperating agencies — other federal, state, local and tribal governmental agencies that have an interest in the project. Unfortunately, FACA, and the aforementioned MOU, was ignored by the Forest Service when they invited Rosemont’s representatives (and according to Mr. Sturgess required) to attend these closed-door, not open to the public cooperating agency meetings.
Attached is the letter that was sent to the Forest Service and here is the article that appeared in the Arizona Daily Star on Tuesday that clearly lay out these “crazy” concerns about open government.