Friday, October 23, 2009

Ag Sec will allow 'no action' option on Rosemont copper mine

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack withdrew a letter he sent ten days ago, and now says the US Forest Service will include the 'no action' option in the EIS process, something that he had written previously would violate existing laws. His change of opinion comes just in advance of two public meetings this weekend in the area organized by Reps Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. The Daily Star has run prominent stories about Rosemont almost every day the past week, so large turnouts are expected.

The editorial in yesterday's Arizona (Tucson) Daily Star called on the Secretary to allow the 'no-action' option [right, credit USFS] as a way to prevent the mine from being developed.

In the run-up to a visit by Ag Dept. Deputy Under-Secretary Jay Jensen to the area this weekend, the paper has run two front-page lead stories on the mine in the past few days.

Sec. Vilsack in a letter released on Oct 14 explained the legal basis for his decision. In yesterday's editorial the paper acknowledged that Sec. Vilsack was following generally-accepted interpretation of existing laws, but called it "lock-step bureaucratic obscuration."

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