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
- July 27, 2107 ADEQ draft APP comments
- July 27, 2017 Technical comments
- January 4, 2018 EPA UIC comments
- January 4, 2018 Technical comments
- February 20, 2017 SUpplimental UIC comments
Rosemont Mine 60 days Intent to Sue Notices
- August 3, 2017 Notice of Intent to Sue over Clean Water Act Violations
- November 9, 2017 Notice of Intent to Sue over Endagered Species Act Violations
Galiuro Exploration Plan
ADEQ Draft TMDL report for Queen Creek
Ray Mine Land Exchange
Oak Flat Mine Plan Scoping comments
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)
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.
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.
Roger Featherstone, Director
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.
Please drop in at any time (except over the lunch recess) to support our appeal.
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.
- 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!
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!
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 public workshops in Superior and Gilbert to tell the Forest Service to protect Oak Flat
- update the public on the status of the EIS process
- describe the alternatives development process, and
- solicit input on the criteria being used to evaluate alternative tailings storage facility locations.
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.