Charlotte Cook

December 16 th 2008

The Honorable Mr. Richard Elias, Chairman

Members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors
130 West Congress Street
Tucson , Arizona  85701

Chairman Elias, Members of the Board.

My husband and I are residents, taxpayers and community volunteers southeast of Tucson in Pima County. Additionally, I am a current Board member of the Empire -Fagan Coalition ( EFC) as you know; EFC and Pima County have a strong history working together to preserve resources in the Empire and Santa Rita Mountains.

This sentiment was echoed in a memorandum from County Administrator C.H. Huckelberry (Mr. Huckelberry) to Ms. Jamie Hogue, (Ms. Hogue Deputy Commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) on January 2 nd 2007. 

We have been working with a neighborhood preservation and conservation group called the Empire-Fagan Coalition regarding this issue [Arizona Portland Cement mining leases]. This organization is made up of area residents and has been active in sending comments to the Arizona State Land Department regarding this and other mineral leases.

Additionally, I also brought our EFC petition to a BOS meeting and every one of you signed it, (along with 1600 other signatures, of which only 8 were from out of state) before turning it into the Governor Office.

We are not sure how this path of community involvement and cohesiveness diverged in regard to the Floodplain use permit for “Roadway Access Through the Davidson Canyon Wash to Mineral Lease” (Davidson Haul Road FUP) but have high hopes that it will be returned on December 16 th 2008 at the Board of Supervisors meeting with a unanimous vote to revoke the Davidson Haul Road FUP.  

As a voter, taxpayer and resident of Southeastern Pima County, Open Space Preservation and Protection as well as responsible regional growth are very important to me. As you well know the riparian diversity provided by the Davidson Canyon, along with cultural resources make this area very unique.

Archeological remnants have been found on private property within close proximately to the proposed haul road, some very significant. At a previous meeting I submitted pictures of the more significant finds to you. Pete Steer of the T.O. D.  Nations have declared them sacred. It is impossible to understand how it would not change the course of the Davidson, should it be allowed.

I, along with other members of the Empire Fagan Coalition, have taken avid bird watchers along the wash. It is also hard to believe that the meandering pathway of the Davidson and deciduous trees immediately downstream would not be changed by the haul road, should it be allowed. Just the other day on a walk, during the fall, we found 5 old nests and we could hear the birds singing the entire journey. We also have returning families of Scaled Quails (of which there are not many) in the area.

Many are not aware just how close to the Davidson the proposed haul road is, so I hope you will take the time to look over the attached photos, to see exactly what kind of impact this road would have on private property, the Important Riparian Area designated by Pima County, as well as areas that even Pima County Flood Control staff has commented on.

September 24 th 2007

Staff report written by Pima County Regional Flood Control District Chief Hydrologist Evan  Canfield  from a field visit to the site on 7-21-07:

It appears that much of the current haul road on the west side of the Canyon is in IRA, though it is not mapped that way.

It is understandable that the threat of a big time out of state attorney would make one feel helpless, or unsure, but we want you to know that “we have your back” as taxpayers, voters and concerned citizens.

I call Marjorie Blaine of the Army Corps of Engineers every month to see if there is a change in the status with Arizona Portland Cement Project and I can quite assuredly tell you that the company has not requested the required 404 permit for this project.

Another thing that I would like you to take into consideration is Pima County Ordinance 16.20.050 Permit-Denial Conditions

A. No permit shall be issued for any development that is not in conformance with this title, or any other provision or law relating to such development.

APC has not turned in their Environmental Assessment to the Bureau of Land Management. This permit is being used for a haul road to the federal claims which is stated in the SWPPP planned available on at Pima County Flood Control.

The federal judgment under NEPA about this haul road cannot be judged appropriately if you allow this Floodplain Use Permit to stand. We cannot know, as APC has not turned in their EA to the BLM.

Sec. 1508.8 Effects.

b) Indirect effects, which are caused by the action and are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable.

Sec. 1508.25 Scope.

Scope consists of the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to be considered in an environmental impact statement. The scope of an individual statement may depend on its relationships to other statements (Secs.1502.20 and 1508.28). To determine the scope of environmental impact statements, agencies shall consider 3 types of actions, 3 types of alternatives, and 3 types of impacts. They include:

(a) Actions (other than unconnected single actions) which may be:

  1. Connected actions, which means that they are closely related and therefore should be discussed in the same impact statement. Actions are connected if they:

    (i) Automatically trigger other actions which may require environmental impact statements.

    (ii) Cannot or will not proceed unless other actions are taken previously or simultaneously.

    (iii) Are interdependent parts of a larger action and depend on the larger action for their justification.

  1. Cumulative actions, which when viewed with other proposed actions have cumulatively significant impacts and should therefore be discussed in the same impact statement.
  2. Similar actions, which when viewed with other reasonably foreseeable or proposed agency actions, have similarities that provide a basis for evaluating their environmental consequences together, such as common timing or geography. An agency may wish to analyze these actions in the same impact statement. It should do so when the best way to assess adequately the combined impacts of similar actions or reasonable alternatives to such actions is to treat them in a single impact statement.

The Seel Limestone Quarry further to the east intends to use this haul road as well, potentially causing even more damage to the Davidson Canyon. Your actions on Tuesday, Dec. 16 th 2008 will have a much more powerful impact on protecting our water, our cultural resources, our private property and our community investment in Pima County.

Thank you,

Charlotte Cook

Approximate route of proposed haul road

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