July 24, 2019

Judge to rule next week on whether to halt Rosemont Mine

Tribes and environmental groups who oppose the project are seeking a preliminary injunction.

360 Santa Rita Mountains Rosemont Copper 2019 The proposed site of the Rosemont Copper mining project is in the Santa Rita Mountains in Southern Arizona.
AZPM

LISTEN

U.S. District Judge James Soto heard oral arguments Tuesday on several cases related to the Rosemont Copper Mine, including a request by mine opponents for a preliminary injunction to halt construction until all other court cases challenging the mine are decided.

The main disagreement at the preliminary injunction hearing was whether the Army Corps of Engineers has the responsibility and authority to regulate downstream secondary and cumulative impacts from dredge and fill operations on the mine site.

Attorneys for tribes and environmental groups who oppose the mine argued that the agency has that authority. They argue that when the Army Corps of Engineers granted the mine's 404 permit under the Clean Water Act, it didn’t adequately analyze related impacts, including dewatering and polluting nearby water sources.

The attorney for the Army Corps of Engineers disputes that claim and says the Forest Service is the main regulatory agency for the mining project, and pointed to proposed mitigation for those impacts on Sonoita Creek.

Opponents also criticized Rosemont and the Army Corps of Engineers for insufficient public notice and financial guarantees on the mine project.

Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition and the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter have filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers over that 404 permit. In April, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to back the lawsuit.

The Tohono O'odham, Pascua Yaqui and Hopi tribes oppose the project over concerns it would damage ancestral homelands, and have filed a lawsuit challenging the Forest Service decision to approve the final environmental impact statement for the mine.

The judge took all cases under advisement. He will make a decision on the injunction by Aug. 1.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona