Monday, July 28, 2008

Biologist bashes Rosemont copper project

The Arizona Game and Fish Department letter to the U.S. Forest Service was labeled 'harsh' by the Arizona Daily Star in its front page story on the issue. The letter, authored by Joan Scott, Habitat Program Manager, has been widely quoted as concluding "the project will render the northern portion of the Santa Rita Mountains virtually worthless as wildlife habitat and as a functioning ecosystem..."

Scott also declares that "the highest value of Arizona public land is for open space, public recreation, and wildlife." This position would appear to challenge the basis of public lands as multiple-use and would effectively eliminate mining, logging, and any activity that creates "noise, light, and physical disturbance" on public lands, including some types of recreation. The letter indicates damage to Forest lands will be permanent and that promises by the company to restore the ecosystem are "fantasy."

The 6-page letter offers no scientific data or references to studies to back up these claims. The AGF letter requests a copy of the biological report for review but then goes on to say that they disagree completely with it.

Those are indeed harsh statements, and set the bar pretty high to back them up with documentation.

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