The U.S. Forest Service is sticking to its position that it can’t say "no" to the proposed Rosemont Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains as long as it meets all environmental laws, the service said in an environmental report released today.

In a preliminary version of the service’s final Rosemont environmental impact statement, the Coronado National Forest said it’s proposing to approve Rosemont Copper’s plan of operations for “construction, operation with concurrent reclamation and closure” of its open pit copper, molybdenum and silver mine.

In the latest draft, the service repeated its past statements that it can “reasonably regulate mining activities to protect surface resources,” but faces both statutory and constitutional limits on its ability to veto a mining plan.

“This means that the Forest Service cannot categorically prohibit mining or deny reasonable and legal mineral operations under the law,” the new Forest Service report said.

The service posted this report today on the Coronado National Forest website, and met with cooperating local, state and federal agencies today to discuss the new report. The agencies will have until July 31st to comment on the report. Afterward, the service will make a final decision on the mine, one that is virtually certain to be challenged in court.

To read this draft, follow these instructions, which come from Coronado National Forest spokeswoman Heidi Schewel:

Go to the site, click on the Cooperating Agencies tab, the administrative draft is among the items in the left column.

Here's the link: