Economic Analysis of Rosemont Mine’s Impact on Jaguar Fatally Biasedby Hot Off The Press (Release) on Aug. 19, 2013, under Press Releases
Review challenges “benefits only” approach that relied solely on information provided by Rosemont Copper Company
A review by a nationally recognized economist found, among other things, that the economic analysis commissioned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for its critical habitat proposal for the jaguar relied “exclusively” on information provided by Rosemont that amounts to a “distorted public relations exercise.”
The review (click here), by noted natural resource economist Dr. Thomas Power, concluded that the analysis provided to FWS by Cambridge, Massachusetts based Industrial Economics, Inc. (IEI) treats mining as if it only has benefits while ignoring its costs, and promotes a “free lunch economics” approach that is “contrived for public relations purposes.”
Dr. Power’s review, sponsored by the Mountain Empire Action Alliance (MEAA) a Sonoita community organization, was provided to the FWS as formal public comments on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the endangered jaguar. The Power review has also been endorsed and submitted as comment by a coalition consisting of a broad cross-section of southern Arizona ranchers, residents and organizations who are concerned about the proposed Rosemont Mine’s impacts on the jaguar, as well as on the region’s air quality, water supplies and economy.
According to Dr. Power, the economic impact analysis conducted by IEI and relied on by FWS “purposely eliminated all costs associated with the [Rosemont Mine] project.” As such, he said, “it is not surprising that the impact analysis finds only benefits. [It was] designed to find only benefits.”
“Such one-sided benefits-only analysis is not economic analysis”, noted Dr. Power. “It is simply a re-presentation of the mining companies’ public relations releases and inappropriate for guiding public policy decision.”
The coalition organizations and local residents who provided Dr. Power’s review to the Fish and Wildlife Service strongly support the agency’s designation of critical habitat for the jaguar, but they are concerned that the economic analysis accompanying it is so flawed that it “seriously undermine(s) its usefulness to both the public and the decision maker.” Thus, they are asking FWS to conduct a real economic analysis that looks at both costs and benefits as well as an examination of other, existing economic analyses of the Rosemont Mine’s impacts on the region.
Their letter to FWS concludes that, based on Dr. Power’s review, “the report is so flawed that it needs to be redone. It serves neither the Fish and Wildlife Service nor the public to have such a fundamentally flawed report be part of the administrative record for this important decision.”
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas is a non-profit, community organization working to protect the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains from environmental degradation caused by mining and mineral exploration activities.