Tony Davis has an interesting article up at the Daily Star June 19, 2011:
By Tony Davis
The U.S. Forest Service’s recent draft environmental-impact statement on the proposed Rosemont Mine has something for both sides when it comes to economic and social impacts.
The statement agrees virtually dollar for dollar with an earlier report, financed by Rosemont Copper, that foresees large local, state and national economic benefits from the project.
Like the 2009 Arizona State University economic analysis of the mine, the Forest Service’s preliminary statement predicts billions to tens of billions of dollars in economic benefits locally, regionally and nationally.
It also says the mine’s presence in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson wouldn’t discourage tourism.
But the new statement also echoes a key point from critics: that the expected increase in employment and tax revenue will be small, compared to the region’s overall economy. That was the theme of a second Rosemont economic analysis, produced last year by a University of Montana economist, Thomas Power, who was hired by mine opponents living near the site.
COMMENT: The identification of negative impacts…whether exaggerated or not…serves as the baseline for the Forest Service to negotiate use permit conditions.
Contrary to the claims of mine opponents, the Forest Service is not going to say “no mine” because federal law doesn’t have that option for a mine. They have based their whole effort on killing the mine instead of trying to mitigate the impacts of the mine on the environment.
Many may not like the 1872 Mining Law…but until Congress changes it…that’s the law.
Pima County has sided with the opposition and its strategies, backing them with taxpayer funds… instead of trying to be an “honest broker” between economic concerns and environmental concerns to find a “win-win” path.
Thus the question…who will sit at the table with the Forest Service arguing for the environmental mitigation aspects of the use permit?
Certainly mine opponents will be there trying to get conditions that would kill the mine. Pima has already staked out the position they want billions in restoration efforts including filling the pit back up.
But who will sit there trying to balance economic interests and environmental interests on behalf of the people in the region?
Opponents of the mine have attacked anyone and everyone who tries to find a balance because they cannot tolerate anything but achieving their goal of no mine at all.
There is a similarity to the national debates on the deficit, border security..every issue is polarized by extremes and there is no middle ground. It is all about the fight and not about solving problems in a collaborative fashion that recognizes all side have some “right” to where they come from and the solution must recognize all sides do have good points.
Instead the Rosemont fight is characterized by an evil foreign company wanting to destroy pristine wilderness. Read the comments from some of the anti-Rosemont people in previous posts here.
For example the following comment from Michael Smith to Request that Pima County work with Rosemont is probably dead on arrival
As a representative of the county government, and involved in the issue of approval/disapproval of the Rosemont operation, whom would you expect to pay the bills?
I dislike using any Obama quotes, but in this case, the used-to-death one about putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t alter the fact that a pig is still a pig, seems appropriate; And no amount of lipstick can make an open pit mining operation anything other than what it is – forever destruction of the environment in which it is located and the depletion of our most precious resource – water.
We know as well, by experience, that if the price of copper should fall, the mine would be shut down without regard to all the promises made by its operators, and that all those pie-in-the sky projections would be as meaningless as the words used to make them.
This is not an environmentally-conscious operation – it is a for-profit operation and, if the enviroment has to be sacrificed to achieve profit, then it will be.
It is true there would be beneficiaries – those who actually work in the mines, their families and, to some extent, the communities in which they live – but the greatest benefit would be to the foreign-owned business enterprise which plans to use archaic US laws to plunder and destroy American soil. They have no emotional stake in the mine, only financial. It is not in their back yard.
Note: Smith is way off base on the water issue…Rosemont is trying to recharge CAP water in Green Valley and is being opposed by Pima County and mine opponents such as FICO. Now there is a story you likely will not read in the local print daily.
Meanwhile… I am fascinated by how quickly the draft EIS..which was not for public circulation and which was sent exclusively to various government agencies…ended up being posted by the Star to fuel the fight. I think it was within 2 hours the DEIS had been released by one of the original recipients so that th negative findings in it could be used to fan the flames of opposition.
As Davis’s article notes…there was also positive findings. But you won’t see a word about those in press releases from the Center for Biological Diversity or Save the Scenic Santa Ritas or Pima County in their continuing efforts to kill the mine.
My bet is a Pima County employee released the DEIS in violation of the embargo…probably with a wink and a nod from Huckelberry’s office. In the real world, if a Pima County employee released the DEIS they should be fired.
Davis got his story and was used as a tool by mine opponents so they could hammer away on all the negative envionrmental findings in the DEIS.
Whomever released the DEIS has a cynical view of the integrity of the DEIS process and demonstrated a value system that raises serious questions about the ethics of the government officials involved. I am sure the Forest Service was not amused by the DEIS public release….unless one of their staff is responsible.
Davis will obviously protect his source as a journalist must.
But he is inadvertantly sitting on a whole other story…the role some governement around here is playing to fight the mine.
Maybe a “whistleblower” in the County ought to release all the correspondance between Huckelberry and Ray Carroll and mine opponents so we can see just how cynical Pima’s role is in the fight and who really is the driving force behind it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will protect the confidentiality of any “whistleblower”.