Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rosemont sides too polarized for conflict resolution to proceed

The Tucson-based Morris K. Udall Foundation's Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (ECR) says the two sides of the Rosemont copper mine are so polarized that there is no point in wasting everyone's time in trying to set up a process that won't be useful.

The U.S. Forest Service brought ECR in recently at the urging of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to bring the mine opponents and proponents together and to try to get more productive community input into the review process.

I had lunch today with Mark Schaefer, the new head of ECR and deputy executive director of the Udall Foundation. Mark didn't let anything slip about their decision but he asked some pointed questions about my perceptions of the dispute. I attended the Congressional field hearing in Tucson a year or so ago and saw firsthand just how angry and intense the debate had become at that point.

AZGS mapped the geology around the proposed mine two years ago, and is starting mapping of 3 adjacent quadrangles with co-funding from the USGS, to provide geologic framework data to better constrain groundwater models for the region. Water is one of the most contentious issues about the mine.

It's ironic that ECR, which works on issues nationwide has found a fight in it's own backyard to be one of the most intractable.


  1. Anonymous1:03 AM

    Although it is a terrible shame this approach to a working group idea did not materialize, it does a HUGE disservice to what was attempted to write:

    "there is no point in wasting everyone's time in trying to mediate a resolution"

    That was never the goal and as such was stated several times.

    Please post what what was reported accurately as not everyone is going to take the time to follow the link, thank you!

  2. My original post used the term 'mediation' but after reading Elizabeth's comment I edited this to reflect that ECR uses a variety of approaches to help resolve disputes, including mediation, arbitration and others depending on the situation but mediation was not what was planned in this case. I appreciate the clarification.

    I was using mediation in too casually as the generic alternative to litigation but ECR notes that their process is more accurately viewed as "appropriate dispute resolution."