Forest Service responds to Rosemont Copper Mine objections - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Forest Service responds to Rosemont Copper Mine objections

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Environmental groups are blasting a new Forest Service action that moves the controversial Rosemont Copper Mine closer to starting construction.

The agency has now issued its response to public objections to a preliminary decision approving a modified version of Rosemont's operating plan.

The Forest Service response has been delayed a couple of times since the objection period ended last February, but the bottom line from the regional forester is now clear.

He writes that he has reviewed all the issues raised in the Rosemont objections and finds that the project complies with federal rules and regulations and forest management plans.

The Forest Service reviewed dozens of comments from private citizens, community groups, local governments and other organizations. Many of the objections centered on familiar concerns about Rosemont, particularly the mines affect on air, water, land and wildlife.

The forester does suggest some changes and clarifications to the agency's impact statement and draft decision.

A statement from Rosemont opponents, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, says "It's obvious that the Forest Service did not take its job of protecting our water and mountains seriously."

Rosemont vice president Kathy Arnold said the company agrees with the forester's conclusion and that Rosemont looks forward to working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife on consultation called for in the forester's letter.

That last part refers to the recent Forest Service's announcement that it was asking Fish and Wildlife to review new information on endangered species.

No timeline has been set for that.

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