KMSB Fox-11 "Fox-11 Forum," 12/13/09, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Gayle Hartmann, President of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas. The group was formed in opposition to the proposed open-pit Rosemont Copper Mine to be located on the eastern side of the Santa Rita Mountains.

Hartmann says the group is concerned about not only the mile-wide open pit, but also the 3,500 acres of waste piles that would cover the mountain slopes, the use of groundwater, and the possibility of toxics leaking into the nearby Davidson Canyon and Cienega Creek. She says the group feels the local tourism industry most likely will be affected negatively by the mine.  She says nearby scenic Route 83 will likely be clogged with heavy truck traffic, as well.

Hartmann says the mountain lands in question are home to at least 10 threatened plants, a crucial wildlife corridor, and is the key to countless vital watersheds.  She says ultimately, the U.S. Forest Service will decide whether copper mining will be allowed here. She says the Forest Service has delayed an environmental impact report on the Rosemont Mine plan until the second quarter of next year. 

Hartmann says the group’s short term goal is to prevent any mining from occurring in these areas. She says the long term goal is to obtain permanent protection by supporting withdrawal of the Forest Service lands from mineral entry, and protecting the private lands from mining.  She says a final decision on whether to allowing mining in the Santa Ritas is expected before the end of next year.