Comments Filed April 2017 – April 2018

The following are most of the comments we filed and/or signed onto in the past year:

Pinto Valley Mine Expansion

Apache Leap Special Management Area

Tonto National Forest Plan Revision

Excelsior Mining Gunnison In-Situ Mine Proposal

Rosemont Mine 60 days Intent to Sue Notices

Galiuro Exploration Plan

ADEQ Draft TMDL report for Queen Creek

Ray Mine Land Exchange

Oak Flat Mine Plan Scoping comments

Selected 2017 News Articles about Oak Flat

Selected 2017 News Articles about Oak Flat

Check out these news articles about our struggle to protect Oak Flat

 

Mother of a Metal, Phoenix Magaizine, June 2017, by Keridwen Cornelius

Massive copper mine tests Trump’s push to slash regulation, Reuters, July 12, 2017, by Emily Flitter

What’s at Stake in Oak Flat, Edible Baja Arizona, November/December 2017, by John Washington

Photos of our trip to London to adress the Board of Directors of BHP, Billiton (the minority owner of the proposed mine at Oak Flat)

Please tell the EPA to protect precious Arizona groundwater

Please tell the EPA to protect precious Arizona groundwater

Please comment now to protect precious Arizona groundwater

The deadline for comments is Tuesday, February 27, 2018, so act now!

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently accepting comments for a draft permit that would allow a brand-new mining company with no track record to pollute Arizona groundwater to extract copper from Arizona grasslands rich in cultural heritage just upstream from the Willcox playa, winter home to thousands of imperiled Sandhill cranes.

The permit would allow the company to drill 1,400 wells and inject over 7,000,000 gallons of sulfuric acid a day into the groundwater. 

In-situ mining is a type of mining that injects acid into the ground to dissolve copper and other minerals.  This toxic solution of copper and acid is then pumped from the ground and processed to remove the copper.  In-situ mining, by definition, is the intentional pollution of ground water.  In-situ mining has long been used to produce uranium but (outside of several existing mines) has never been attempted to mine copper.  No in-situ mine has ever returned the groundwater to pre-mining conditions.

What could possibly go wrong?!!

Please send the EPA comments on this inappropriate project. 

For More Information:
Original comments from a Coalition of groups
Supplemental comments
EPA’s project website

 

Updated 2/26/18

Attend public meeting to stop the proposed Gunnison copper mine

Attend public meeting to stop the proposed Gunnison copper mine

The US EPA will be taking public comments at a meeting in Dragoon, AZ from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, on February 27, 2018.

The meeting will be held at the Dragoon Women’s Club, 1871 North Johnson Road, Dragoon, Arizona.

Excelsior Mining is planning an in-situ copper mine on private land near the town of Dragoon and Texas Canyon (between the towns of Benson and Willcox upstream from the Willcox Playa).  Excelsior Mining was formed in 2005 and this is their only mine project.

In-situ mining is a type of mining that injects sulfuric acid into the ground to dissolve copper and other minerals.  This toxic solution of copper and acid is then pumped from the ground and processed to remove the copper.  In-situ mining, by definition, is the intentional pollution of ground water.  In-situ mining has long been used to produce uranium and at several existing copper mines but has never been attempted to mine copper in a greenfields location.  No in-situ mine has ever returned the groundwater to pre-mining conditions.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently taking comments on a draft Underground Injection Control permit that would allow the company to drill 1,400 wells and inject over 7,000,000 gallons of sulfuric acid a day into the groundwater. 

What could possibly go wrong?!!

Please see our sample comments letter to EPA to use for talking points to use if you speak at the public meeting.

If you cannot attend the public meeting, please send the EPA comments.

Thanks,
Roger Featherstone, Director

For More Information:
Talking points
Our comments
Supplemental comments
EPA’s project website

 Updated 2/26/18

Appeal hearing of a Rio Tinto permit to pollute Queen Creek begins February 5

Appeal hearing of a Rio Tinto permit to pollute Queen Creek begins February 5

Please attend a hearing this week to support the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition’s appeal of permits granted to Rio Tinto to dump polluted water into Queen Creek.  The Coalition has appealed the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ) improper granting of a permit to Rio Tinto.  Queen Creek is already polluted due to mining activity and, if the permit is upheld, Rio Tinto would make the pollution worse.

The hearing will be taking place from Monday, February 5, 2018 to at least Friday, February 9.  The hearing will go all day from 9:00 to 5:00.

The hearing will take place at 1400 W. Washington, Suite 101, Phoenix, AZ

Please drop in at any time (except over the lunch recess) to support our appeal.

Last chance to help us out in 2017

Last chance to help us out in 2017

As the clock ticks down, you have only 48 (or so) hours left in 2017 to help us do all we need to do in 2018.  You are critical to the success of our efforts.

The only thing standing in the way of irresponsible mining company’s plans to destroy precious public lands (with the assistance of increasingly lax federal and state mining laws) is the support of folks like you who share our passion for protecting our communities and the environment.

I’m asking you to act today by making a generous tax-deductible gift to the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition.

Your generosity will help us immediately to:
  • Continue to protect Oak Flat against the proposed assault by Rio Tinto and BHP.  We will battle on the federal and state levels and in the courts.  We will educate decision-makers why they must reverse the Oak Flat land exchange. 
  • Continue our work to protect the jaguars, ocelot, and other endangered species that live in the Santa Rita Mountains from the proposed Rosemont mine.  We are working on the federal and state levels and in the courts.  We have sued the US Forest Service for illegally approving the Rosemont mine plan.
  • Continue our work to protect Arizona’s precious waters from proposed in-situ copper mines that, if we are not successful, are sure to pollute aquifers upon which we all depend.
  • Stopping new and dangerous proposals by the state of Arizona to take over the federal government’s programs that regulate the dredging and filling of waters of the United States and programs that regulate underground injection wells used by mining companies to inject dangerous chemicals into aquifers.

We have a mountain of work ahead of us, but with your help, nothing is impossible when we all stand together to protect the rights of vulnerable communities and the natural places we love.

Due to the new federal tax bill just signed into law, this may be the last year you can fully deduct donations to the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition.  If you need an additional incentive to donate, this is it.  Donate now just in case!

Thank you for your support and assistance.
 

Sincerely, 

Roger Featherstone, Director

Please visit our convenient online donation page and give generously. If you’d rather send a check, you will find instructions on the donation page as well. Have a wonderful New Year!


Ask your Congresspeople to Co-sponsor the Save Oak Flat Act

Ask your Congresspeople to Co-sponsor the Save Oak Flat Act

On June 15, 2017, the Save Oak Flat Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.  The Bills would repeal Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 and keep Oak Flat in public ownership.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the US House version, HR 2915, with 30 cosponsors from both parties. 

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced S 1375, the Senate version of the Save Oak Flat Act with four cosponsors, Senators Merkley (D-OR), Wyden (D-OR), Heinrich (D-NM), and Booker (D-NJ).

The success of the Save Oak Fat Act is very important for the protection of Oak Flat. 

Please contact your Representative asking him/her to cosponsor HR 2915 and your Senators to cosponsor S 1375.  (If your Congressional delegation members are already cosponsors, please thank him/her for helping to protect Oak Flat).

Attend Forest Service Workshops March 21 & 22

Attend Forest Service Workshops March 21 & 22

Attend public workshops in Superior and Gilbert to tell the Forest Service to protect Oak Flat

The Tonto National Forest is holding public workshops in Superior, AZ, on March 21 and Gilbert, AZ, on March 22. Each workshop runs from 5:00 to 8:00.
 
Please attend these workshops to show the Forest Service that Rio Tinto’s plans to destroy 7,000 acres of public land, including Oak Flat, to build a toxic mine are unacceptable.
 
The Forest Service is hosting workshops to:
  1. update the public on the status of the EIS process
  2. describe the alternatives development process, and
  3. solicit input on the criteria being used to evaluate alternative tailings storage facility locations.  
Comment on Rio Tinto’s ADEQ water permit renewal

Comment on Rio Tinto’s ADEQ water permit renewal

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has proposed to renew Rio Tinto’s current water quality permits to discharge polluted mine water being drained from mining shafts on the company’s private property near Oak Flat.  

You are invited to comment now on the permit renewal.  The comment deadline is September 7, 2016.

Please submit comments now.

Attend San Tan Valley scoping meeting June 9

Attend San Tan Valley scoping meeting June 9

Please attend a public scoping meeting on Rio Tinto’s proposed plan to destroy Oak Flat.

The Tonto National Forest will be holding a public scoping meeting on June 9, 2016, in San Tan.

This additional public scoping meeting will be held at the Central Arizona College San Tan Campus, located at 3736 E. Bella Vista Rd, San Tan Valley, Arizona 85143. The meeting will run from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 5:30 p.m.