2012-01-25 "Jaguars Are Threatened by Copper Mining" by Judy Molland
Wonderful news! Late last year, the first jaguar confirmed in the U.S. in 3 years was spotted in southern Arizona.
And now for the bad news: the proposed Rosemont Copper Project in the Coronado Forest would destroy the habitat that these magnificent animals are seeking.
Open-Pit Copper Mine – A Disastrous Idea -
This open-pit copper mine would irrevocably impact the Santa Rita mountain range and important riparian wildlife habitats downstream. The mine would take over 4,500-acres in this iconic, biologically diverse sky island mountain range, and fill entire canyons on public lands with waste rock [http://www.gvnews.com/news/article_7a0a3c02-8d78-11e0-a5c6-001cc4c03286.html].
The mining itself would mostly be conducted on private land, but Forest Service and other public land would be used for ore processing and the dumping of mine tailings, the dry residue of the mining process.
Apart from the 4,500-acre mine, roads and heavy truck traffic would further disrupt important wildlife corridors and likely increase wildlife road kills. And this is at a time when there are already several copper mines in the area that are not operating at full capacity. Making things even worse, the company behind this, Augusta Resource Corporation, is Canadian.
Representatives Giffords and Grijalva Tried To Stop Rosemont -
Back in 2009 [http://blog.summithut.com/post/2009/06/11/Stop-the-Rosemont-Copper-Project.aspx], Arizona congressional representatives Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva turned up the heat on the Forest Service in an effort to stop this disastrous project south of Tucson. Apparently, that wasn’t enough, and the Forest Service has said it cannot stop this mine.
Defenders of Wildlife explains [https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2361]:
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for this proposed project does not adequately analyze the potential impacts to sensitive wildlife habitat, water quality and quantity, air quality, climate change, or recreation-based economies. A supplemental analysis must be conducted that adequately analyzes and discloses these impacts in order to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
This disastrous project would scar the countryside, take away vital habitat for all animals, including jaguars, severely impact Arizona’s tourism, and cause dangerous traffic problems as huge trucks screech their way along narrow two-lane roads.