The headline “New Rosemont delay now assured,” on May 24, struck me as a euphoric declaration of what all had been waiting for. But think of this dear reader: We have been studying the Rosemont Mine proposal for seven years and only now do we discover that more studies are required.

As reported by the Arizona Daily Star, the reviews will focus on the endangered ocelot and “five imperiled fish, frog, plant and bird species that depend on Cienega Creek and other streams. Also up for review are the Western yellow-billed cuckoo and the northern Mexican garter snake, which could be listed soon as endangered or threatened.”

Any self-respecting enterprise, free or otherwise, should be able to define the studies required and complete them within seven years. So the question is, “Is this just another demonstration of government incompetence or is it part of a well-planned strategy to drag the process out sufficiently to cause the Rosemont people to simply give up and go away?” My guess is that it is the latter.

Would all of you who have decided we do not want another mine, period, please consider the economic benefits that we are forfeiting, e.g. the jobs that some folks won’t have, the revenue our local merchants won’t receive, the tax income our county, state and nation will not receive, and the impact on our nation’s balance of payments? For if the copper is not mined here it will be mined elsewhere, probably in Peru, Chile, Argentina, Indonesia or some other faraway land.

We are forgoing all these benefits for the sake of some very obscure critters. It is a scenario we see played out time and again. Those of us who have lived in Pima County for more than a few years will recall that construction of Ironwood Ridge High School was delayed for two years because of concern for the pigmy owl, causing extra expense for the school district and severe inconvenience in the instruction of our high school students at the time.

Lest anyone should size me up wrongly, I am very happy with some of the things the “environmental movement” has accomplished. I like the idea of clean air and clean water. I am grateful for early visionaries like John Muir who inspired the setting aside pieces of particularly beautiful and spectacular land into a system of parks for human beings to enjoy.

However, it is my opinion that much of the remainder of the movement, especially the Endangered Species Act, is the second-largest threat to the well-being of the United States of America. First place goes to the huge national debt we continue to accumulate. I say, “shame on us.”

Gilmore Tostengard, a retired management consultant living in Oro Valley, has extensive experience working in and for the mining industry. None of that work was with Rosemont. Contact him at