Downing's Column on Rosemont Mine Was Great Journalism

Renée Downing's assessment of the Rosemont threat (Feb. 2) is great journalism, and I hope it leads some people to consider what a hell of a sacrifice of land, species, clean air and water it would be.

It's a disgrace that our government and its appropriate agencies are not protecting, once and for all, these treasures. How anyone who's ever enjoyed Arizona's gifts (probably bestowed personally by 20 or so gods) could help make such a disaster descend upon our state is beyond me. Is it just more evidence that our civilization is going down, down, down, at a furious rate?

David Ray

Good News: Rosemont Mine Will Probably Never Happen

Renée Downing is absolutely right. The proposed Rosemont open-pit mine would have a whole host of dreadful impacts on Southern Arizona: reducing groundwater quantity in the Santa Cruz basin, probably adding toxics to the groundwater in the Davidson Canyon/Cienega Creek area (both of which have been declared "outstanding waters" by the state), dirtying the air over Saguaro National Park East for at least one-third of the year, increasing fatalities on Scenic Highway 83 and so forth.

Everybody and his brother agrees with you that this mine is an awful idea: Our supporters include ranchers; truck drivers; teachers; doctors; and owners of wineries, bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants, real-estate offices, etc. Many, many people understand that an open-pit mine in one of our unique sky islands is a project out of the past, not one for our future.

However, the process is far from over. The Coronado National Forest did hold public hearings, which they were required by law to do. Thousands of Southern Arizonans submitted comments, as did Save the Scenic Santa Ritas and others. We submitted a document several hundred pages in length authored by 56 credible individuals. It concluded by pointing out that the draft environmental-impact statement is "riddled with mistakes, missing information and imbalanced analyses." The Forest Service is required by law to answer the questions we raised. We expect they will have to issue a supplemental draft EIS to address all the deficiencies, and this will take time. Also, other federal agencies still must weigh in.

So, yes, Rosemont Copper, aka Augusta Resources, is a mess, but it is a mess that isn't going to happen any time soon, and likely not at all.

Keep the faith!

Gayle Hartmann

President, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas

The EPA Did Its Job by Denying the Rosemont Mine a Permit

I am writing regarding the "Not-So-Rosy Rosemont" Skinny item in the Jan. 26 issue. The Environmental Protection Agency needs to be applauded for denying the 404 permit for the mining project in the Santa Ritas. There are several issues regarding that proposed mine.

First, it would contribute to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity. The Coronado National Forest contains a biodiversity which is far greater than that of any other national forest in the United States. Rosemont would threaten that biodiversity.

Second, many people express great concern regarding the air quality. The construction and operation of the mine will certainly increase the amount of dust in the air.

Third, because we live in the Sonoran Desert, we have limited water resources. Water resources will be consumed by the operation of the mine. In addition, leaching procedures will mean the accumulation and concentration of dissolved minerals, heavy metals and other toxins. As an example, the communities surrounding the Iron King Mine in Dewey-Humboldt are suffering from high levels of arsenic in their drinking water. Rosemont Copper's mining plans will disturb and contaminate the watershed for Davidson Canyon and Cienega Creek. In time, Tucson's drinking water will have elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy-metal contaminants. The result: Rosemont Mine would be a huge water folly!

The U.S. Forest Service in general, and Coronado National Forest in particular, are a part of the United States government and its functions. This is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. This means that the government has a mandate to protect the people, and the EPA is doing its job.

Wolfgang Golser

Danehy Needs to Stick to the Serious Stuff

Finally, an entire Tom Danehy piece I can give a shout-out to, from beginning to end (Jan. 19).

Tom preaches the best sermons when he really gets down to the Things That Matter Most. I'm going to try to utilize my sophomoric computer skills to pass this on to my liberal sister, my conservative brother, and my ultra-conservative ex-best friend. (It's hard to believe how one's values can change when one starts making money in the business world.) What disturbs me sometimes about Tom's pieces is, for instance, when he wasted newsprint space about the Kardashians and their high-rent trailer-trash lifestyles (Dec. 8). So please, Tom, stick to the serious stuff, and get back to writing about race, politics and other important things.

And one last comment: I, too, saw and really liked Midnight in Paris (Danehy, Dec. 29).

Larry Windham

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