To: Coronado Forest Officials
Date: November 7, 2013
I guess you saw the news of the horrific accident on I-10 this Sunday between Phoenix and Tucson. An elderly couple from Idaho (my neighbors) was stuck in the resulting traffic for 5 hours before they were able to get to an off-ramp .... thankful every moment that they were safe. http://news.msn.com/us/3-killed-in-dust-storm-crashes-on-I-10-in-Arizona. This pile-up occurred with gusts of wind of 30 mph, whereas the wind hits 60 mph at the proposed Rosemont mining site in the Santa Ritas--and in Green Valley . This photo I took of the dust in the Santa Ritas in April, 2011. Gunsight Pass and the proposed mining area are visible on the right--and this dust occurred without disturbance from mining.
Dust Storm in Santa Ritas
This type of acccidents caused by dust storms happens too frequently in Arizona. The dust along Interstate I-10 is from agriculture moon-scaped lands, and as we know the dust blows off the wet tailings of the local mines regularly also because mining companies get cited by ADEQ. This type of dust is sure to happen on Rosemont's dry tailings—and how much worse will be the consequences on a winding scenic highway with ninety 10-ton truck loads a day. I hope the FS officials in Washington see the light—and don't wait until we have a rash of crashes and law suits. Of course the loss of animals will be devastating too. Highway 83 is a winding road through hills, whereas I-10 is a straight. Overhead view of Highway 83:
Scenic Highway 83
In the past, I have let the public know with my comments on the ADEQ Air Permit. In the future any injured victims will have standing in the travesties that we citizens will have to suffer. Rosemont's statistics show that there will be in increase in Highway faltalies of 450%.
Excerpt from Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Rosemont Copper Project
Executive Summary, page xxv
Public Health and Safety
When combined with increases in traffic on State Route 83 resulting from population growth, the proposed action would result in traffic increases up to 10 to 88 percent during year 1 of the construction phase (under a 75 percent commuter carpool scenario), 128 to 290 percent during year 5 of the operation phase (no carpool scenario), and 204 to 356 percent by the end of mine life (no carpool scenario). A corresponding decrease in traffic safety would occur that may result in 61 to 107 accidents per year (from current rate of roughly 30 accidents per year), with a fatality occurring between one and two times per year (from a current rate of roughly one fatality every 3 years). By applying the mitigation measure of a partial carpool during the operation phase (75 percent of worker commutes in 5-person vans), the traffic increase from mine related traffic and population growth would be 67 to 135 percent at year 5 of operations and 137 to 201 percent during year 20 of operations. Direct impacts to public health and safety associated with traffic would remain after mitigation. [Empahsis mine]
I continue to be confounded and confused by the gap in what the Agriculture Secretary and Forest Service Chief say and what they do. I sure wish I could take them on a tour of Arizona's mining region, so they can see what our National Forests will look like in the future if their policies to pretend to follow the 1872 mining law continues. (www.savethesantacruzaquifer.info/Administrative-Issues.htm#law) At the same time that they are urging permitting of non-sustainable destruction by hard-rock mining, they are touting "restoration," "ecological health," "watersheds." In a media interview on Forest Planning Rule, January, 2012, Agricultural Secretary Vilsack stated:
We Arizona residents are only asking that the Forest Service back their motto: "Caring for the land and serving the people." As the sign that is posted in Coronado and other National Forests states--it's a simple formula:
Green Forests = Healthy Environment
Current Inventory of permits in process for National Forests to be destroyed by hardrock mining in the West:
Note: The Forest Service does not keep records of the acreage of these permits. Nor do they keep records of the Forests and acreage that have already been permitted and are being destroyed.