Rod Pace, CEO, Rosemont Copper
Representative Ron Barber’s recent letter to Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting a new Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) shows a serious lack of understanding as to how the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) works.
We agree with Representative Barber’s statement about “the professionalism that has been displayed by the staff of the Coronado National Forest.”
Representative Barber is correct when he states: “They have shown a strong willingness to listen to, and engage with, a wide range of stakeholders as they move forward with review of the Rosemont Mine Environmental Impact Statement.”
Unfortunately, Representative Barber’s letter attempts to undermine the professionalism of the very agency he is professing to compliment. After more than five years of exhaustive review, working with 17 cooperating agencies, the Forest Service issued the DEIS with a range of alternatives, including an alternative they selected as their “preferred alternative.”
After the release of the DEIS, Rosemont addressed questions about operational refinements that would be required if the Forest Service were to move forward with this preferred alternative, the “Barrel Alternative.” Operational refinements include the latest data and technology improvements since the Mine Plan of Operations (MPO) was submitted in 2007; this is a normal process to address the preferred alternative selected in the DEIS.
If fact, Rosemont’s refinements to the preferred alternative by the Forest Service will not increase truck traffic and will be neutral or less on water requirements – not more as Representative Barber claims. And the economic benefits of the project increase not decrease. Finally his statement of tens of millions tons of additional waste rock on public land is wrong, there will be approximately 40 million less tons of waste rock than submitted in the MPO. In every area, impacts will be reduced or remain they same. This is exactly how NEPA is supposed to work.
Instead of applauding reduced impacts, Mr. Barber says the DEIS process should start over, defeating the entire purpose of NEPA. His claims are an insincere attempt to add more time and cost to the already lengthy process.
This is nothing more than another effort to delay the benefits of thousands of jobs and millions in local spending and tax revenue to Pima County, the state of Arizona, and our nation.