The Coronado National Forest announced yesterday that the schedule for the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Rosemont copper mine is delayed and it could take two months just to determine when the completion date will be set. [right, crest of the Santa Rita mountains. Credit, Rosemont Copper]
This is not a surprise. At the March meeting of cooperating agencies (of which AZGS is one), Forest Service staff seemed to tiptoe very carefully in their discussion about schedules. At that meeting they also unveiled a new concept about landforming the tailings and waste piles - ie, engineering of natural-looking hillsides to mimic the local terrain. Rosemont Copper had not seen the studies sponsored by the Forest Service until then and did not want to comment until they examined them further. It struck me that making a change of this magnitude this far into the process would likel cause delays.
In addition, the cooperating agencies had until this past week to submit all of their comments and reviews on the stack of reports prepared for the EIS. I didn't see how the USFS could get this huge influx of materials, evaluate them, and get the Draft EIS completed the same week.
Meanwhile the public debate and hyperbole continues. Here are some of the op-ed pieces and news stories of the past couple weeks: