TUCSON, AZ, July 29, 2016 – In an important development in the effort to save America’s only known jaguar, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Los Angeles regional office has recommended denial of an essential permit for the proposed Rosemont copper mine in southern Arizona. The denial recommendation was forwarded this week to the Corps’ San Francisco office, which has said it will issue a final decision within six months. The massive open pit copper mine would destroy thousands of acres of public land in the heart of the home territory of El Jefe, America’s only known wild jaguar, but it cannot proceed without a Clean Water Act permit Rosemont is seeking.
“It’s very encouraging to see the Corps moving toward denial of this permit,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The record is clear — the Rosemont mine would pollute Arizona’s air, drain its water supply and do tremendous damage to its wildlife and wild places that could never be adequately mitigated. The Corps has apparently concluded what we’ve known all along — that the Rosemont mine is simply not in the public interest.”
The Army Corps administers Section 404 of the Clean Water Act under authority delegated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has repeatedly recommended against issuing the permit. EPA officials have sharply criticized the mining company’s mitigation plan as woefully inadequate and identified a litany of questions and cited problems surrounding the controversial mine. EPA also retains the authority to veto the Clean Water Act permit should it be issued.
“The Corps has studied the Rosemont mine proposal for several years now, but no matter how many ways you look at this boondoggle, it doesn’t add up for Arizonans or the beautiful place they live,” said Serraglio. “In this age of climate change and decades of ongoing drought, the threats to our water, in particular, are too egregious to allow this mine to proceed.”