So is it a TREO study or a Rosemont Study that TREO is shilling?

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According to an article in Sunday’s Arizona Daily Star, we learn that Tucson Regional Economic Opportunity (TREO) is just one more tool in the shed for Rosemont Copper’s green washing efforts.

Something does not smell right about this apparently biased economic analysis.  On the first page of the consultant’s report, it says, “[t]his analysis is based on the best available information and is intended to aid Augusta Resource Corporation in demonstrating the impacts of the Rosemont Copper Project on Pima County.”

However, in the cover letter from TREO’s Joe Snell, he says, “[a]s you know, it is standard for us to prepare such reports for all projects that we work on.”

This is a wholly inadequate economic analysis that is at best incomplete;  at worst it is an attempt to willfully mislead this community about the economic impacts of this project.

As noted in today’s article, this study and the other Rosemont sponsored economic studies assume that the economic activity related to this yet-to-be permitted mine will take place in a vacuum, with no adverse impacts to other community sectors or tax revenues.

According to recently released Forest’s Service’s administrative draft the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed Rosemont Mine, this project threatens both the quantity and quality of our water supplies, pollutes our air, destroys wildlife habitat and obliterates historical cultural sites.

When you put the relatively modest number of jobs that could be directly employed at the mine (about 400) into context with its impacts to the quality of life on which much of our economy depends, it is clear that the proposed Rosemont Mine is bad for southern Arizona’s economy.

This analysis also ignores TREO’s own findings that tourism creates $2 billion a year in revenue, far surpassing any annual economic contribution of the proposed Rosemont Copper project.   TREO also says that it has  “targeted business development activity on the following industries: Aerospace and Defense, Bioscience, Solar, and Transportation and Logistics.”

To encourage potential employers to relocate here, TREO says, “[t]he intriguing landscape of the desert gives way to majestic mountains in every direction, making Tucson a paradise for anyone who loves the outdoors. Hiking, biking, and exploring are favorite Tucson activities.” Obviously, the proposed Rosemont Mine would significantly impact these resources that make Tucson a great place to live and work.

The question that TREO and its members need to ask themselves is: Is the utter and complete destruction of a significant portion of a mountain range the kind of economic future TREO wants for our community?

It is these mountain ranges make Tucson and southern Arizona a great place to live and attract the clean knowledge-based industries that partner with our University and will move Arizona’s economy future into the 21st century.

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