Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gabby Giffords in her own words: Why I hate Mining

Gabby is up to her old tricks again! She blocked the permanent checkpoint now she is targeting the Rosemont Mine. I would like to remind this community that copper is what put this state on the map and it fueled our industrial revolution. The world is going through that revolution that we went trhough 100 years ago and as before the need for commodities - precious metals is alive and well. Gabby wants to make that proud legacy and our place in the future world economy a rumor.

March 28, 2008

Dear Mr. Bretney,

Last week, on March 18th, I sent a letter to Corbin Newman, Regional Forester at the U.S. Forest Service, regarding the Rosemont Mine project. In my letter I expressed deep concerns about the way the Forest Service was handling public involvement in the scoping process for the Rosemont project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

My concerns stemmed from the fact that the Forest Service had given only seven days notice of the initial public meetings, and the comment period was limited to just 30 days. Since I sent the letter, further concerns have emerged regarding the format and conduct of the public meetings. In my view, a project as complex as the proposed Rosemont Mine demands that public agencies adhere to the highest standards of public engagement. This is why, in my letter, I requested opportunities for greater community participation in the scoping process, including additional informational meetings and an extension of the public comment period to 120 days.

Yesterday, Mr. Newman and Jeanine Derby, Forest Supervisor for the Coronado National Forest , met with me to hear my concerns and recommendations about how we can provide more opportunities for public comment on the proposed Rosemont Mine. I am pleased that we agreed to the following six adjustments to the Forest Service's plans for involving the public in the EIS scoping process:

oThe public scoping process will be extended from the original 30 days to 120 days. The closing date for the public scoping process will be extended to July 18, 2008. This expanded window will ensure that the public has ample opportunity to learn about the EIS process and provide their comments to the Forest Service. It also demonstrates that the Forest Service is serious about collecting public comments.

oThree additional "open-house" meetings will be scheduled. To ensure ample opportunity for the public to educate itself about the EIS process and provide comments, three additional open-house meetings will be scheduled. One has already been scheduled for April 5 in Vail and another is in the planning stages for Sahuarita. A third will be scheduled in the Sonoita area in the coming weeks.

oAll future open-house meetings will begin with an explanation of the process. The remaining open-house meetings will begin with an oral and written explanation of the process. This introduction will provide an overview of the EIS process; the purpose of the open-house meeting format; the type of comments being solicited; the role of the Forest Service; and the identification of officials from the Forest Service, Augusta Resources, and other relevant organizations in attendance at the meeting. The introduction will also explain that the open-house is not intended as a public hearing, and that public hearings will be held on dates and at locations which will be announced at each open house.

oThree public "hearings" will be scheduled. In addition to the open-house meetings mentioned above, the Forest Service will also schedule three public hearings during the 120 day comment period to allow Southern Arizonans to express their views in an open public forum. As we discussed, these three hearings will be held in Central Tucson , the Green Valley/Sahuarita area, and the Sonoita/Patagonia area.

oThe selection process for the EIS contractor will be reviewed. Concerns have been raised about the process employed by the Forest Service to select the primary contractor to perform the EIS, and that firm's ability to evaluate the Rosemont proposal objectively. To address these concerns, the Regional Forrester has agreed to conduct a review of the selection process with the participation of a senior member of my staff and a representative of the public.

oA community work group will be established to participate in the EIS process. A work group will be convened to provide community and technical input throughout the process. This group will include representatives of appropriate public agencies, members of affected communities, and my staff. The group will be charged with assuring that all specific public concerns relevant to the project are raised and addressed in the EIS.

I am grateful to both Mr. Newman and Ms. Derby for their responsiveness to my constituents' concerns. I believe full public involvement is essential in order for the Forest Service to fulfill its impartial facilitating role in the EIS process, particularly on an issue as important and complex as the proposed Rosemont Mine. I am confident that these six action steps will help restore public confidence in the EIS process and, ultimately, improve the quality of its conclusions.

Please be assured that I am continuing to monitor this situation closely.

Sincerely Yours,

Gabrielle Giffords
Member of Congress

No comments: