Rosemont opponents seek injunction to block EIS release

2011-03-26T11:46:00Z 2011-03-28T19:25:54Z Rosemont opponents seek injunction to block EIS releaseTony Davis Arizona Daily Star
March 26, 2011 11:46 am  • 

By Tony Davis

> > Arizona Daily Star

>

> Opponents of the proposed Rosemont Mine are asking the U.S. 

> District Court to grant an injunction stopping the federal 

> government from publishing a Draft Environmental Impact statement 

> on the mine.

> 

> The motion from two environmental groups and the company that 

> operates the pecan groves in Sahuarita asked a federal judge to 

> hold a hearing and to order that the U.S. Forest Service include a 

> more balanced representation of all sides to the Rosemont dispute 

> when it holds future meetings of outside officials on the 

> environmental statement.

> 

> The motion, filed this month, is the latest move in the legal case 

> over a series of 24 meetings that the Forest Service held from 2009 

> through 2010 with officials of Pima County, Arizona Game and Fish 

> Department and other cooperative agencies on the draft 

> environmental document.

The opponents have already filed suit against the Forest Service. 

> The latest motion is to seek an injunction to block the EIS from 

> being released until a trial can be held on the lawsuit’s merits. 

> The motion was filed by the Farmers Investment Co, Save the Scenic 

> Santa Ritas and the Center for Biological Diversiy.

> 

> The U.S. Justice Department declined immediate comment on the 

> injunction request. It is due to reply to the motion on April 11, 

> and the Rosemont opponents are due to reply on April 26. However, 

> the district court hasn’t yet approved this schedule, said Charles 

> Miller, a Justice Department spokesman.

> 

> The lawsuit charges that the Forest Service illegally ran these 

> meetings with Rosemont officials and consultants present at 19 of 

> them, but not any organized opponents of the mine. Such an action 

> violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires 

> that advisory committee meetings be open to the public and that its 

> membership must balance all viewpoints on the mine, the lawsuit says.

> 

> The federal law excludes advisory groups consisting only of 

> government officials and their representatives. But the injunction 

> requested cites a handbook written by the U.S. Council on 

> Environmental Quality that says the law applies when a group 

> including one or more non-government officials offers advice to a 

> lead agency on alternatives that should be included in an 

> environmental statement, the injunction request said.

> 

> In a letter to the mine opponents on Jan. 14, Coronado National 

> Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch wrote that the service doesn’t 

> consider the Rosemont committee an advisory group that is covered 

> by the FACA law. The main reason for Rosemont’s presence at the 

> meetings “has been and will be solely for the purpose of providing 

> and receiving relevant technical information about the project,” Upchurch wrote in that letter.

> 

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Star reporter Tony Davis covers topics in this blog that you have read under his byline for more than 30 years in the Southwest: water, growth, sprawl, pollution, climate change, endangered species, mining, grazing and traffic.

To reach Tony call 806-7746 (office) or 349-0350 (cell) or write him at tdavis@tucson.com.

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