Canadian-owned Augusta Resource/Rosemont Copper is seeking permits to build a massive open-pit copper mine 3,000 feet deep and over 1 mile wide on 4,700 acres in the Santa Rita Mountains just south of Tucson, AZ. Most of this land (over 3,700 acres) is public land within the Coronado National Forest. Even the Forest Service admits the Santa Rita Mountains would be PERMANENTLY destroyed. This mine would have devastating impacts on Southern Arizona’s water, wildlife, cultural heritage, air quality, recreation, and economy.
What’s at stake in the decisions of the Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies can never be replaced. Just a few of the impacts include:
Loss and degradation of groundwater for human use and surface and groundwater that sustain critical aquatic and riparian areas like Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.
Destruction of habitat and individuals representing nine endangered and threatened species, including the only known jaguar living in the U.S.
Complete loss of 85 historic properties that include Native American remains and prehistoric sites, and resource-gathering locations thousands of years old.
Degradation of air quality throughout the region, including Saguaro National Park East, from mine vehicles, dirt roads, crushers and conveyors.
Permanent destruction of the area’s scenic integrity, including nine viewpoints along Highway 83 between I-10 and Sonoita.
Significant traffic increases along Highways 83 & 82, as the mine would generate 55-88 round-trip truck shipments daily.
Compromised integrity of the region’s dark skies, which are critical for nearby observatories.
Decreased revenues from Southern Arizona’s $ 2.4 billion tourism and recreation industry.
Though the U.S. Forest Service recently issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the mine, the review process is far from complete. Significantly, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has to determine whether to issue a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Now is the time to raise your voice. It is time to GO TO THE TOP and ask the White House and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help protect the Santa Rita Mountains for future generations. Signing this petition will send a clear message to decision makers about this misguided and potentially devastating mining proposal and the importance of protecting this special place, and asks that they help ensure that the project is rigorously and objectively examined.
For more info, see www.scenicsantaritas.org/action.