No injunction issued in Rosemont impact study

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- In a ruling Monday, a federal judge said he had concerns about the participation of Rosemont Mine representatives in Forest Service meetings about an environmental impact study, but refused to issue a preliminary injunction.

Protesters stood outside the federal courthouse Monday. At issue is a series of meetings conducted by the Forest Service to determine the Rosemont Mine's possible environmental impact. Rosemont officials were invited. Conservation groups were not.

"Rosemont has been at that table, has been discussing and giving their input but the opponents have not," said Morris Farr, Vice President of the Save the Scenic Santa Ritas.

Meanwhile, inside the courthouse, a judge considered whether the impact study should be stopped to make room for a round of public input.

"We're looking at adding what we believe is another 30 days to the process, plus whatever time the government thinks it would need to evaluate comments," said the attorney for the plaintiffs, Jeffrey Willis.

The public input plaintiffs wanted would be in addition to public input that comes after the study is filed.

The goal is to balance out any influence made by Rosemont reps who attended those Forest Service meetings.

"There was active participation in the committee whether they were denominated as a member or not," said Willis.

Attorneys for the Forest Service refused to comment as the judge deliberated. However the senior vice president of Rosemont Copper expressed interest in moving the process along quickly.

"We're anxious to get those processes moving along, keep moving along and get the comments out to the public, let them weigh in," said Jaime Sturgess from Rosemont Copper.

The plaintiffs, which include save the scenic Santa Ritas, the center for biological diversity and farmers investment group plan to release information on their next move.

Monday's ruling does not prevent the mine from being built, it only allows the Forest Service to continue the environmental impact study.