Save the Scenic Santa Rita’s distorts EPA report on Rosemont Mine

save-the-scenic-santa-ritasOn Wednesday, a group calling itself Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR) issued a press release intended to do damage to the Rosemont Mine, in Southern Arizona. In the release, the group falsely makes claims about a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) letter issued to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) on November 7, 2013.

The term eco-terrorist is traditionally reserved for groups who have used violence to stop the harvesting of trees or minerals, but some are saying that the release of such distorted information has had the effect of terrorizing investors. The release appears to have been timed to hurt the company’s stock. One investor reportedly lost $50,000 over night after a panicked sale due to the inappropriate comments and distorted interpretations in the press release as other media outlets picked up on the false accusations.

“The SSSR press release today (Thursday) was not only inaccurate but another attempt to harm our company,” said Gil Clausen, Augusta’s president and CEO. “This group has historically mischaracterized the level of impact that letters between agencies have and obviously do not understand the permitting or the evaluation process. SSSR totally misrepresents the contents of the letter and the EPA’s comments actually said that they were looking forward to working with the Army Corps on mitigation and risk based assessments. For example, nowhere in the EPA’s letter did they discuss discharges as ‘toxic mine wastes’. The SSSR is fabricating information and attributing that information to EPA in an effort to scare our shareholders and disrupt markets.”

According to the Augusta Resource Corporation, the parent company of Rosemont Mine, “the EPA has been working diligently with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and other Federal Agencies to finalize the work required to complete the permitting process. The EPA letter refers to old plans and issues which were the basis of discussion and not decision. The ACOE will make their decisions based on facts, rules and regulations as they continue to maintain good dialog with the EPA.”

Due out next week, the final EIS has integrated five years of science based technical studies and analysis and the printed version of the draft Record of Decision (ROD) from the USFS is expected to be issued mid-December after the documents are printed. After the documents are released, the EPA will be able to work with other agencies and with Rosemont to finalize mitigation planning and to assure compliance with all regulations and permit conditions regarding the 404 Permit issued under the Clean Water Act.

Save the Scenic Santa Rita’s has tried everything they can to prevent the approval of the mine. This recent move was clearly intended to instill doubt in investors without whom, the mine could not open. Their intent to create doubt about the company’s financial health is evident in the latest statement: “The EPA’s recommendation to deny the Clean Water Act permits comes at an inopportune time for Augusta Resource, Rosemont Copper’s parent company. Its stock is hovering at a 52-week low and the company reported less than $750,000 in cash reserves as of Sept. 30, according to regulatory filings released last week. Augusta’s cash crisis raises serious questions as to whether Augusta will have the financial capacity to secure technical expertise to address EPA’s latest criticisms of the crucial Clean Water Act permit.”

Almost immediately after the release was issued Augusta’s stock dropped causing a brief, but expensive panic.

Save the Scenic Santa Rita’s also make claims about mitigation plans being “scientifically flawed” and “grossly inadequate.” Augusta, points out that Save the Scenic Santa Rita’s references to “scientific flaws” are “from a letter written almost a year ago and acknowledged that the assessment methods were what was prescribed by the ACOE and references a mitigation plan that is out of date and not currently in use. The EPA does not determine appropriate mitigations, this is the ACOE’s responsibility.”

Augusta claims it has developed a comprehensive environmental, social and cultural mitigation program with detailed monitoring and reporting protocols to address the concerns and requirements of numerous agency and permit requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act 404 processes.

Clausen said, “Rosemont has been working closely with the Federal Agencies for the past five years to ensure the appropriate mitigations are developed to address impacts. Throughout that time, the SSSR has consistently and purposely misrepresented the company’s intentions, the facts and the NEPA process. They have deliberately worked to undermine the obligations and work of the Agencies involved.”

Investors who lost money as a result of the false and or misleading claims by Save the Scenic Santa Rita’s, are encouraged to file complaints with the SEC.
According to the group, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas started in Sonoita, was originally called Swapwatch and included members of the Sierra Club, Tucson Audubon Society, The Wildlands Project, the Sonoran Institute, League of Conservation Voters, and the Wrong Mountain Wildlife Preserve. They incorporated and changed their name to Save the Scenic Santa Ritas in late 1996.

Their main focus in 1996 was “stopping the ASARCO/Forest Service land exchange in the Rosemont Valley of the Santa Ritas, and preventing an open pit copper mine there.”

They are “tracking this proposal in addition to new mining and mineral exploration proposals in the Patagonia Mountains, including the Canelo Hills and San Rafael Valley. Our short term goal is to prevent any mining from occurring in these areas,” according to the group.

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  1. The only people that will benefit from the Rosemont Copper project are the politicians that are getting paid off, the CEO’s of the company and Upper Management. The company isn’t even based in the US. It’s Canadian! Does anyone actually believe the majority of the profits are going to stay local, much less in the State? Yeah, there will be some jobs until they deplete the copper and move on to the next
    hole to dig. Big deal. How many generations will work there? One. The jobs will be temporary. What happens when the mine closes? Meanwhile there will be more trucks polluting the air and the possibility of screwing-up the water supply in that area.
    Too many negatives. Just another corporation coming in and taking what they want. How much is BP (British Petroleum) contributing to Alaska’s economy? Sure don’t hear too much about anyone rushing up there to earn a living.
    I oppose the Rosemont Copper project. Anything to stop it is fine with me.

    • Do you realize that most miners in Arizona are hispanic?

      And to your comment about Alaska (even though this is an older article) –

      High-paying jobs are luring Mexicans to Alaska. Since 1980, Alaska’s Hispanic population has nearly tripled from 9,000 to 25,000. Hispanics now make up 4.2 percent of the state’s residents, up from 3.2 percent in 1980.

      So…Being against the mine must be racist.

  2. Sounds good Rob, but you can’t mine copper where copper doesn’t exist. Unless you can find a way to move it.

  3. And before the haters start with the bashing I will let you know that I am a Conservative Independent, I believe that Ranchers should be allowed to graze cows, sheep or ?? on public lands (with a lease of course) Loggers should be allowed to cut timber and build roads to get the timber out (They should have to replant trees and reclaim the roads) Mines should be allowed to mine (with the proper safeguards in place to reclaim the areas) Hunters should be allowed to hunt and obama should be impeached!

  4. I know we need the jobs and the copper, But are we going to rape the land for 20 years worth jobs and a small shot in the arm for our economy. 50 years from now, Will our Grandchildren appreciate this mine? Or will they be happy that we sacrificed a little to save our environment.
    Please goggle “Zortman Montana -Super Fund site, you will see what can happen. This mining company put up a very large bond , to cover any damages, however the bond they put up doesn’t even cover half of what the actual cost is to clean up the mess. Now the US taxpayer is on the hook for the clean up, (if it ever does get cleaned up)
    Rosemont (if allowed to mine) needs to clean up as they go, so the mess isn’t so large when they leave (and they will leave)

  5. Those screaming Santa Rita people are as bad as any tree hugger I’ve ever seen!

    Has the SSSR people thought about maybe releasing a few thousand imported pygmy owls into the area? Some day it might work for them!

  6. It’s really all they have. They did the same with global warming. Public policy is being adjusted to account for the kook population. And Tucson is overloaded with them.

  7. I wonder, wonder who da-do-da-do. WHO! Who wrote the book of facts?
    Our senior neighbor in Green Valley is scared out of her wits! She told us if Rosemont goes in, the banks will close in Green Valley, the air will be black, her property value will plummet and she plans to get a reverse mortgage. Scaring seniors is easy for this irresponsible group.

    • the reverse may be the ‘Green Valley’ truth – with families with jobs needing homes near work – and lots of empty homes in Green Valley (drive around down their and see how many are vacant) if the mine opens Green Valley may see a real estate boom that brings the home prices out of the pits! I would think Sahuarita would also boom! Like many mine boom towns do… not a bad problem to have.

  8. Over the last eight years, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas has lost much of the support they once had in southeastern Arizona because of the tactics they have employed to fight the Rosemont Copper project. As Arizonans have learned more about this proposed 21st century mining project, they have come to recognize the misrepresentations made by its opponents; the falsification and distortion of the data and their attempts to undermine and/or delay the legal processes employed in its permitting. Their actions demonstrate an ignorance of the process used to evaluate and permit a major industrial project such as Rosemont. No longer considered a credible source for information by most Arizonans, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas’ rhetoric has become more extreme over recent months, showing their desperation as this project comes closer to becoming a reality.

    On November 20, 2013, a press release issued by Save the Scenic Santa Ritas reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) that Rosemont Copper should not receive a 404 permit, which is required by the Clean Water Act. Claiming to cite a recent EPA letter issued to the ACOE on November 7, 2013, their press release misrepresented and distorted the information contained within this document. In reality, the sole purpose of their press release was nothing more than a cold, calculated and potentially libelous attempt to destroy shareholders’ confidence in the management of Augusta Resource Corporation and the Rosemont Copper Company. I condemn the use of such tactics as do most Arizonans.

    The news of Rosemont Copper’s demise has been greatly exaggerated by its opponents. The confidence in the viability of the Rosemont Copper project and the ability of its management to see the permitting process to a successful conclusion has been re-enforced by Red Kite’s commitment to loan Augusta Resource an additional US $26 million. The Rosemont Copper project will become a reality. You can bank on it.

  9. I would have opposed it if our elected officials had found a way to develop 20,000 good paying jobs including business income to all the local supporting retailers.


    Dig the dang hole.

  10. A lot of bluster in this op-ed and not many facts. They say “this letter was from a year ago!” So? They give a tiny example: …nowhere in the EPA’s letter did they discuss discharges as ‘toxic mine wastes’. Well, obviously some are and some aren’t. This attack op-ed is, in my opinion.

    Are Rosemont’s crack legal teams unable to take any legal action against the press release? I wonder why. Perhaps they can’t prove any falsehoods in court. I don’t see them filing any action.

    I’m perfectly willing to believe the SSSR press release contains false information if I saw the results of a libel suit where all the claims were investigated. And perhaps it is exaggerated. As exaggerated as this opinion piece? A matter of opinion as both sides employ overblown rhetoric.

    The anti-mine faction did unearth some very interesting facts about Augusta Resource Corporation officials. And it was also interesting how years ago Rosemont ran that fake “job fair” where they had gullible “applicants” fill out Forest Service comment forms in favor of the mine. Wow, they got a lot of comments out of that. And we saw how they did it.

    I’m not opposed to mining in general (although many who read my comments questioning Rosemont immediately blast back with denigration and accusations of that) but I am opposed to this company mining here.

    • Class action suit may be on the way by those who lost money owing to SSSR doing the equivalent of calling “Fire” in a crowded theater. Stay tuned. Will get even more interesting next week when the Final EIS is issued.y.

  11. Unethical behaviors should not be rewarded, ever. We see all too often people, who don’t care about the means, they only care about the outcome and are willing to do anything to reach their objective. We decry special interests for their dishonesty and demand penalties for those who fabricate a narrative. This case is no different. A complaint to the SEC for those share holders who lost investment funds because of the market manipulation is advised. This about much more than just jobs, Rosemont has provided evidence that it will be a good corporate neighbor providing mitigation lands, water and critical materials needed for all of the “green” agenda projects that affect the greater planetary environmental good. Rosemont has played by all the rules, even those changed as the process progressed. For individuals to knowingly create false public testimony is shameful and should not be tolerated.

  12. Like a majority of residents in Pima County, the radical ‘environmentalist’ “Screw the working white man coalition”, aka Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, don’t need no stink in’ jobs. They’re living off government transfer payments.

    Any wonder why we have a university with over 25,000 students and almost none of the graduates stay. Any wonder why Tucson is the LAST place employers would consider for relocation.

    Easy to come up with a nickname to replace the Old Pueblo, we ARE the Detroit of the Desert.

  13. Save the Scenic Santa Ritas is destroying employment opportunities that would benefit thousands of Tucsonans.

  14. Just think…all this could have been avoided if Pima County had ponied up the bucks to buy this irreplaceable scenic Santa Ritas when they had the chance. It wasn’t special enough apparently.

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