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

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.

Tell the Forest Service why a mine at Oak Flat is a bad idea today!

Tell the Forest Service why a mine at Oak Flat is a bad idea today!

July 18, 2016, is the deadline for scoping comments on Rio Tinto’s plan to destroy Oak Flat by building a dangerous mine.

Please send the Forest Service comments to help them understand why Rio Tinto’s proposal is untenable for so many reasons.

The comment deadline is July 18, 2016.

For the last day, the Forest Service is accepting scoping comments to help them prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement.  This is a chance for you to tell the Forest Service why this proposal is so bad, and why it is so important to protect Oak Flat.

Comment on Rio Tinto’s Proposed Mine at Oak Flat

Comment on Rio Tinto’s Proposed Mine at Oak Flat

The Tonto National Forest has began the permitting process for Rio Tinto’s proposed mine at Oak Flat on March 18, 2106.  The first step in the process is a 60 day scoping comment period running from March 18 – May 17.  During this period, the public will  provide comments to the Forest Service to help them identify the issues that should be studied and included when they write a Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The Forest Service has scheduled 4 open houses to explain Rio Tinto’s mining plan and to take public comments.  Those meetings all take place from 5:00 – 8:00 PM.

They are:

  • March 31, Queen Valley Recreation Hall, 1478 East Queen Valley Drive, Queen Valley.
  • April 4, Superior High School, 100 Mary Drive, Superior.
  • April 5, Elks Lodge, 1775 East Maple Street, Globe.
  • April 6, Southwest Regional Library, 775 North Green Field Road, Gilbert.
Please Attend Oak Flat Anniversary March

Please Attend Oak Flat Anniversary March

Apache Stronghold, one of our Coalition member groups,  will be hosting an Anniversary March from the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation to Oak Flat.  Please attend and help spread the word.  Take a look at the flyer for more information.

For more than a year, Apache Stronghold has been encamped at Oak Flat to protect it from Rio Tinto’s distructive mining plans.

 

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

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

Please contact your Members of Congress today and ask them to cosponsor the Save Oak Flat Act to repeal Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Last December in the closing days of the 113th Congress in the dead of night, Rio Tinto’s Congressional supporters stuck the Oak Flat land exchange onto a must past national defense bill.  The land exchange became Section 3003 of the defense bill.  Section 3003 has nothing to do with national defense, but Rio Tinto’s supports knew that the land exchange would not pass on its own. 

In June of this year, Congressman Grijalva from Arizona introduced HR 2811, the Save Oak Flat Act, which will repeal Section 3003 and keep Oak Flat as public land.  As of now, 36 members of Congress from both parties have cosponsored this bill. 

With your help, that number will grow and the bill will pass and protect Oak Flat!

Thanks,
Roger Featherstone, Director