Patagonia News with Watchdog Pete © Kathi A Noaker

2014 Patagonia News

Local, State, and National News that affects the Patagonia, Arizona Area

Click on the headline to go to the story. We post relevant Patagonia news regularly!

2014 Patagonia News

 

Patagonia Christmas count turns up unusual birds

Despite foul weather that lasted most of the day, the Patagonia Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 18 turned up a number of interesting species. “First of all the weather was awful,” said Tom Arny, compiler for the area. “It was cold and gray with on and off drizzle until late in the afternoon.” Despite the conditions and late window, Arny said the 45 people counting in the circle that extends from Washington Camp to a little north of town and out to the San Rafael Valley still managed to spot 132 species of birds. Weekly Bulletin 12/31/2014

 

Mineral Park copper mine laying off hundreds of workers

A copper mine in northwestern Arizona is shutting down production and laying of hundreds of workers in the wake of a Bankruptcy Court filing by its corporate owner. Mineral Park, an open pit mine located 15 miles northwest of Kingman, sent layoff notices to more than 350 workers on Monday, the Today’s News-Herald reported. ABC15 12/30/2014

 

Patagonia mines oozed high levels of iron, US says

Levels of iron that created orange runoff from two old Patagonia-area mines this fall were very high, “way above any standards,” says a federal geologist. The iron and other contaminants were flushed out of the Lead Queen and Trench mines into neighboring creeks in September and October, the U.S. Geological Survey has said. The iron gave the runoff a bright, orange-colored appearance that caught the attention of area residents and state and federal scientists. Arizona Daily Star 12/28/2014

 

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Turns 115: Why Does It Matter?

Birders, scientists, enthusiasts, and students are among the 71,000 observers who have participated in Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count, one of the largest, longest-running citizen science efforts in the world. The annual event provides important data about bird population trends and helps inform conservation efforts. National Geographic 12/27/2014

 

Congress’ Christmas Gift for the Rio Tinto Mining Company

The Rio Tinto Mining Company, owned by interests in the United Kingdom and Australia, is representative of the destructive and devouring process of colonization which results in the expropriation and exploitation of the territories of original nations and peoples. The Apache Nation is an example of an Original Nation, well known for fearless and famous leaders such as Cochise and Geronimo who fought to maintain Apache independence from the American empire of the United States. Indian Country Today 12/27/2014

 

American Indians Confront “Savage Anxieties”

Earlier this month, as part of the $585 billion defense bill for 2015, Congress passed a measure that would give lands sacred to American Indians in Arizona to a foreign company. The deal gives the Australian-English mining firm Rio Tinto 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in exchange for several other parcels so it can mine a massive copper deposit. This week, Bill speaks with Robert A. Williams Jr., a professor specializing in American Indian law, about how deals such as the one with Rio Tinto are a part of American Indian’s tragic history of dispossession. “Very much like African-Americans, the history of America is taking away resources, whether it’s labor or whether it’s land from one racial group to give them to the dominate racial group,” Williams, who is of Lumbee Indian heritage, says. Moyers & Company 12/26/2014

 

Group plans new housing development at Three Canyons

A conservation group that recently established itself in Patagonia under the auspices of helping the local community and its environs is now planning a housing development. Ron Pulliam and David Seibert of the Borderlands Restoration Group made the announcement of its acquisition of the Three Canyons property during an open house at Cady Hall held on Dec. 16. Weekly Bulletin 12/24/2014

 

Mining company says it’s committed to Superior’s success

The mining company seeking to acquire a copper deposit just outside Superior wants to help the town prepare for life after the ore body is depleted and the mine shuts down. Arizona Daily Star 12/21/2014

 

Patagonia Could Become A Mining Town Again

Across Arizona, some small towns founded on mining have been reborn as quirky, artsy tourist destinations. Think Bisbee or Tombstone or Jerome. But in one remote spot, that switch may not be permanent. In the Southern Arizona town of Patagonia, residents are divided over whether it should become a mining community once more. KJZZ Phoenix 12/19/2014

 

What deluges? 11 trillion gallons of rain still needed to end California drought

About 11 trillion gallons of rain, or nearly 17 million Olympic swimming pools full. That’s how much water California needs to recover from its extreme drought despite downpours that cause flooding and mudslides this month, NASA said. This week, the space agency released a satellite data analysis of how much water the state’s reserves lack. CNN 12/18/2014

 

Leading Bird Conservation Group Calls for Expanded Yellow-billed Cuckoo Critical Habitat

American Bird Conservancy (ABC), one of the leading U.S. bird conservation groups, has asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to significantly expand its proposed critical habitat designation for the western population of Yellow-billed Cuckoo, which was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in October. American Bird Conservancy News Release 12/17/2014

 

Senate passes defense bill, including mine land-swap in Superior

The U.S. Senate voted this afternoon to approve a national defense bill that gives 2,400 acres of national forest land in Superior to a foreign mining company. The legislation now goes to President Barack Obama’s desk for signature. Arizona Daily Star 12/12/2014

 

Senate advances Defense bill

The Senate on Thursday advanced the $585 billion Defense bill. The procedural vote was necessary because some GOP senators objected to the inclusion of an unrelated lands package in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Despite those objections, the Senate voted 85-14 to end debate on the motion to concur with the House on S. 3979, advancing the measure for a final vote expected no later than Friday. The Hill 12/11/2014

 

Audubon hosts event for contributors to Paton’s purchase

The Tucson Audubon Society recently hosted a weekend event for contributors who helped make the acquisition of the Paton’s House in Patagonia and its world-renowned backyard possible. Weekly Bulletin 12/10/2014

 

Arizona’s Paton Center: More than a Place to Build Your List

A dedication ceremony at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds was held this past weekend by Tucson Audubon Society (TAS). It was the culmination of a year’s quick work by ABC to purchase “Paton’s”—a premier birding and hummingbird spot in Patagonia, Arizona—with help from Victor Emanuel and TAS, and to transfer the property to TAS for long-term stewardship. American Bird Conservancy Blog 12/10/2014

 

Congressman’s Native American remark causes outcry

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s reference to American Indians as “wards of the federal government” has struck a harsh chord with tribal members and legal experts in the days following a discussion about a controversial Arizona land deal that would make way for the country’s largest copper mine. Associated Press 12/10/2014

 

Planned Arizona copper mine would put a hole in Apache archaeology

Archaeologists and Native American tribes are protesting language in a Senate bill that would approve a controversial land exchange between the federal government and a copper mining company—a swap that may put Native American archaeological sites at risk. The bill is needed to fund the U.S. military and is considered likely to pass the Senate as early as today. Science Magazine 12/10/2014

 

Re: Raiding Native Sacred Places in a Defense Authorization: Everything Wrong with Congress

The San Carlos Apache Tribe has worked for the past decade to shine light on the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange that would transfer Oak Flat and nearby lands in the Tonto National Forest – lands held sacred by my Tribe and many other Native Americans – to a foreign-owned mining corporation for certain destruction. Sadly, this Land Exchange has been airdropped into the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) at the eleventh hour, as Congress prepares to bring the 113th Session to close. Indian Country Today 12/10/2014

 

San Carlos Apache Leader Seeks Senate Defeat of Copper Mine on Sacred Land

The leader of the San Carlos Apache Tribe is asking the Senate not to vote on the annual National Defense Authorization Act until a provision that would allow a massive copper mining project on sacred land is removed. Indian Country Today 12/8/2014

 

Mining proposal threatens Arizona town’s water supply

Just eighteen miles north of the Mexican border, the town of Patagonia, Arizona sits cradled by 4,000 foot high mountains– a high desert oasis of oak and piñon pines, home to the rare ocelot and jaguar. But scattered throughout those mountains are abandoned mine shafts and tailings from the town’s not-too-distant past. High Country News 12/5/2014

 

US House vote eases way for Superior mine

A controversial land-swap bill attached to national defense spending legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, bringing a foreign mining company one step closer to a massive copper deposit near Superior. Arizona Daily Star 12/5/2014

 

Congress Raids Ancestral Native American Lands With Defense Bill

When Terry Rambler, the chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, woke up Wednesday in Washington, D.C., it was to learn that Congress was deciding to give away a large part of his ancestral homeland to a foreign mining company. Huff Post Politics 12/3/2014

 

Bill could ease way for mine north of Tucson

A controversial bill to privatize national forest land in Arizona has been tucked into the national defense spending bill, to the dismay of those fighting a mining company’s efforts to buy the land. Arizona Daily Star 12/3/2014

 

Paddling to D.C. to oppose Northern Minnesota mining

The 100-day, 2,000-mile trek–which started in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Aug. 24 and moved across the Great Lakes, through Lake Champlain and down multiple rivers and canals along the East Coast–was aimed at drawing attention and opposition to proposed copper mine projects in the BWCAW watershed. St. Paul Pioneer 12/3/2014

 

Iran Uranium Partner Could Get Gift From Lame-Duck Congress

Congress may use must-pass legislation in the next two weeks to slip through a controversial land deal that would help a company that jointly owns a uranium mine with Iran, sources told HuffPost. The company, the international mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, has been trying for nearly a decade to acquire 2,400 acres of the federally protected Tonto National Forest in southeast Arizona — land that sits atop a massive copper deposit. Huff Post Politics 12/2/2014

 

Not So Sunny in Patagonia

The U.S. Forest Service recently gave the green light to the “Sunnyside ”mineral exploratory drilling project — a plan to drill 18 bore holes at six sites in the Patagonia Mountains in hopes of finding silver ore and creating larger mines. Despite the project’s deceivingly cheerful name, this exploratory drilling could have major impacts on both the mountains and the species that depend on this diverse “sky island” habitat for survival. And if mines are ever developed in this sensitive area, the outlook would not be so sunny for wildlife and water quality. Defenders of Wildlife Blog 12/1/2014

 

Report Projects Consequences of Hermosa Mine

Sometimes numbers speak louder than words. Pete Dronkers and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) have recently published a report about the potential impact of an open pit mine in the Patagonia Mountains, and some of the numbers used in reference to the mine’s proposed activities are staggering. Patagonia Regional Times 12/2014

 

Lawsuit Questions Forest Service Decision

The Sunnyside mineral exploration drilling project in the Alum Gulch area of the Patagonia Mountains was given the go-ahead by the US Forest Service back in September. In response to this decision, the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance and Defenders of Wildlife have asked federal court to hold the USFS and the US Fish and Wildlife Service accountable for their approval, saying that it violates environmental laws and poses a potential threat to endangered species and the safety of drinking water for local residents. Patagonia Regional Times 12/2014

 

New Ownership and New Role for Three Canyons

Patagonians have watched the adventures and misadventures of Three Canyons since 2005. The original development went under in 2008 and the property is currently held by the National Bank of Arizona. The late breaking news is that a newly formed company, Wildlife Corridors LLC, purchased the property in a deal that is due to close in early December. The new owners will have 1250 acres of land, including a critical corridor for wildlife movement among the Santa Rita, Huachuca, and Patagonia Mountains. Patagonia Regional Times 12/2014

 

Growing Native Plants for Ecosystem Health

Native plants play important ecological roles in the health of our Sonoita Creek watershed. Native grasses provide food for species such as the rare Baird’s sparrow, as it overwinters in the grasslands. Milkweeds are essential for monarch and queen butterfly caterpillars; these butterflies won’t lay eggs on any other plants. The seeds of our oak trees provide food for many creatures, including the black bear. Patagonia Regional Times 12/2014

 

Nature Journeys

One palpable joy of being a naturalist in southeastern Arizona is that our winters are so eclectic. The variability in December invertebrate activity here generally trumps that of many other places in North America. The presence of any number of ectothermic species in what often can be a rather frigid month owes much to our nearly subtropical latitudes, as well as warmer nooks in the landscape. Add enough moisture and rather balmy temperatures, and our December diversity is decidedly decent! Patagonia Regional Times 12/2014

 

So. AZ Paddlers Club Gathers For The Sake of The Lake

Every fall for 16 years—and again in the spring—The Southern Arizona Paddlers Club working in partnership with the park service circumnavigates Lake Patagonia’s shoreline in its “For the Sake of the Lake” shore clean up. Patagonia Regional Times 12/2014

 

11/28-29: Patagonia Art Walk

Thanksgiving weekend doesn’t have to peak with the feast. The next day, the family is still around and probably itching to get out and enjoy the weather instead of setting around the house and eating leftovers. A trip to southern Arizona could be just the ticket. Sneak in a little early Christmas shopping and stroll the streets of Patagonia at its annual Art Walk. Arizona Republic 11/27/2014

 

Miners ask court to lift ban on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

The American mining industry is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a ban on new uranium mining claims near the Grand Canyon in a legal battle with environmentalists over impacts on the premier U.S. park. Reuters 11/27/2014

 

Failed ‘green’ development poised for purchase

A local conservation organization is looking to buy a large property outside Patagonia that was once slated for a “green” development. Ron Pulliam, founder and science advisor for the Borderlands Restoration Group, said he couldn’t comment on the negotiations over Three Canyons Estates or what Borderlands might have planned for the property, other than to say the organization is “very close” to purchasing the property. Weekly Bulletin 11/26/2014

 

Mining can damage fish habitats far downstream, study shows

Anglers across the nation wondering why luck at their favorite fishing spot seems to have dried up may have a surprising culprit: a mine miles away, even in a different state. Scientists have taken a first broad look at the impacts of mines across the country and found that mining can damage fish habitats miles downstream, and even in streams not directly connected to the mines. Science Daily 11/25/2014

 

Canadian First Nations march to demand ban on uranium exploration in Quebec

A group of young members of the James Bay Cree Nation began an 800-kilometre trek from Mistissini to Montreal Sunday to demand a ban on uranium development in northern Quebec. They plan to arrive in Montreal on Dec. 15, the final day of hearings on uranium development by Quebec’s environmental watchdog, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE). The march underlines the Crees’ opposition to uranium exploration and mining, which they say would invade their territory, pollute the environment and threaten their traditional way of life. Mining.com 11/24/2014

 

Spring thaw may threaten Mount Polley tailings-pond cleanup, minister warns

In a few months, the end of winter will bring millions of cubic metres of water flooding down into the Mount Polley mine site, threatening cleanup operations of the tailings-pond breach, B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak warns. Globe and Mail 11/24/2014

 

Brutal repression of a determined protest against the Skouries mine, Greece

Once more a demonstration against Eldorado Gold’s Skouries mine in Halkidiki was met with tons of teargas by the riot police. More than 1.500 demonstrators marched to the location where Eldorado’s subsidiary, Hellas Gold, is developing a huge open-pit gold and copper mine right in the middle of what used to be a pristine forest. Approximately 180 hectares of forest have so far been cleared in order to make way for the mine, a processing plant and two monstrous tailings dams. For the past three years, the local people and the broader solidarity movement resisting the mine have faced extreme repression and penalization of their struggle. More than 300 residents of the area are facing criminal charges related to their efforts to preserve the mountain, the environment and the health of their communities. AntiGold Greece Blog 11/24/2014

 

DHS-funded jaguar study could be model for future predator rescues

As part of its broader effort to protect jaguars in the Southwest, the Fish and Wildlife Service is using more than $200,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to fund two opinion surveys — a novel approach to species recovery that FWS officials believe could help improve future programs aimed at conserving imperiled predators. E&E 11/21/2014

 

How another border crisis is putting American seafood at risk

The Keystone XL controversy may currently be consuming most of the U.S. government’s attention, but it’s not the only environmental crisis-in-the-making coming our way via Canada. A pro-development push north of the border is paving the way for large-scale mining projects located at key watersheds. Downstream in Alaska, commercial fishermen, conservation groups and others who fear for the mines’ potential to damage their homes and livelihoods can do nothing but watch. Salon 11/20/2014

 

Insane pictures of Russian potash mine disaster

Solikamsk-2 accident first implications: situation could worsen. After a statement made by one of the world’s largest potash producers and exporters Uralkali (MCX:URKA)(LON:URALL), first visual implications of Solikamsk-2 potash mine accident have been revealed. A sinkhole with a diameter of 30-40 meters has been detected to the east of the Solikamsk-2 production site, at the area packed with summer cottages. There were no casualties reported so far. Mining.com 11/20/2014

 

Cliffs’ massive closure costs at Bloom Lake stun analysts

Three weeks ago, Lourenco Goncalves warned that shutting down the Bloom Lake mine in Quebec would not be a simple task. “Going away from [Bloom Lake] is not deleting it on a computer. It’s a pretty complicated process,” the chief executive of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. told the Financial Post. He wasn’t kidding. Cliffs announced on Wednesday that it plans to exit Bloom Lake. And if it can’t find a buyer, it expects to be on the hook for astounding closure costs of US$650-million to US$700-million during the next five years. The stock plunged US$2.04 or 20% to US$8.17 in New York on the news. Financial Post 11/19/2014

 

Delinquent Mine Fines: ‘Clearly Troubling … More Can Be Done’

A key House Republican called today for federal regulators to crack down on mine owners who don’t pay fines for safety violations, saying, “Clearly more can be done.” Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, was reacting to an investigation by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News, which documented nearly 4,000 injuries and 131,000 violations at more than 4,600 mines — all as they failed to pay nearly $70 million in safety fines. NPR 11/19/2014

 

Curis Mine: Water board blocks project

A state board on Friday blocked construction of a controversial copper leaching operation beneath Florence, at least in the form it was proposed. The Arizona Water Quality Appeals Board Friday accepted the findings of an administrative law judge who concluded that the permit issued to Curis Resources by the state Department of Environmental Quality to pump acid into the ground would not adequately protect water quality. Her report found a series of shortcomings. Casa Grande Dispatch 11/17/2014

 

Fines Don’t Appear To Deter Mine Safety Violations

An NPR investigation found that mine workers are at greater risk of injury in mines that are able to avoid paying safety fines. Changes in mine safety enforcement could make penalties more effective. NPR 11/16/2014

 

Fire official: Large explosions at Arizona copper mine

An industrial accident at the Freeport-McMoRan smelter led to several large explosions at a Miami, Ariz., mine, investigating authorities said. Tri-Cities Fire Chief A.J. Howell said molten copper came in contact with some water to cause the explosions. Arizona Republic 11/13/2014

 

Shell lawsuit against environmental groups ruled unconstitutional

Two years ago, in a preemptive move, Shell sued a host of environmental and advocacy groups to prevent them from suing Shell over its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court called Shell’s legal strategy “novel” and ruled it unconstitutional. Los Angeles Times 11/13/2014

 

Europe’s cycling economy has created 650,000 jobs

Europe’s cycling industry now employs more people than mining and quarrying and almost twice as many as the steel industry, according to the first comprehensive study of the jobs created by the sector. Some 655,000 people work in the cycling economy – which includes bicycle production, tourism, retail, infrastructure and services – compared to 615,000 people in mining and quarrying, and just 350,000 workers directly employed in the steel sector. The Guardian 11/12/2014

 

Fairgrounds are SCC gem

Next year will mark the Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association’s centennial, and so on Saturday, organization leaders stuck themselves into the Patagonia Town Hall and did not emerge until they had a clear outline as to how to mark this important milestone. Nogales International 11/11/2014

 

Coal Mines Keep Operating Despite Injuries, Violations And Millions In Fines

NPR probes the regulatory loophole that allows mine owners to ignore government regulators and operate unsafe mines. For years, the owners have failed to pay penalties even as workers are injured. NPR 11/13/2014

 

A vast and troubling experiment

Writer Richard Louv has coined the term, “Nature Deficit Disorder,” to link the absence of nature in today’s Internet-wired generation of children to disturbing trends of childhood obesity, attention deficient disorders, diminished curiosity, and depression. Most of Liam’s generation are part of a vast and troubling experiment – the first generation to be raised without real contact with the natural world. Nogales International 11/7/2014

 

Good course, great people at 2014 Finis Tri

There’s no neutral way to report this: I won the 2014 Finis Sprint Triathlon at Lake Patagonia last Saturday. It’s not every day that you win an event you’re covering but, like a lot of wins, it’s one that needs to be qualified in a number of important ways. Nogales International 11/7/2014

 

Patagonia mining ventures under fire

Proposed mining in the Patagonia Mountains came under fire last week from several environmental groups concerned about impacts on local wildlife and water. In one action, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) were named as defendants in a complaint filed on Oct. 29 by the Defenders of Wildlife and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA). A day before the Sunnyside suit was filed, PARA, in collaboration with the non-profit Earthworks, issued a 40-page report criticizing the proposed Hermosa Mine project by Canadian company Wildcat Silver. The report said mining activity in the area will hurt both the quantity and quality of Patagonia’s water supply. Weekly Bulletin 11/5/2014

 

Arguments for erosion structures hold water

Following a year of powerful flood events in northeastern Santa Cruz County, there was no lack of interest in a recent field trip to the Babacomari Ranch where the Borderlands Restoration Group has been constructing hundreds of erosion-control structures. Weekly Bulletin 11/5/2014

 

The surprising reason abandoned US mines haven’t been cleaned up

Hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines litter the West: gold, silver, lead, copper. Some are left from the California gold rush; some were abandoned just a few decades ago. Today, acidic water and heavy metals from mines slowly leach into groundwater, lakes and streams. Corrosive water destroys aquatic ecosystems. Fish – the ones that don’t die – become loaded with arsenic or mercury. People swim in contaminated lakes. They hike over contaminated soil, breathing in dust laced with lead and arsenic. Center for Investigative Reporting 11/4/2014

 

Mining’s Legacy Hits Home

It’s been over a month since two streams in the Patagonia Mountains that feed into Harshaw and Sonoita Creeks were found to be flowing with orange water, but so far there are no clear answers as to the origin of the leaks, what metals and chemicals are in them or what can be done to mitigate the flows. Many agencies have become involved in assessing the problem, including the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Arizona State Parks (ASP), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the University of Arizona (U of A). Patagonia Regional Times 11/2014

 

New Report On Impact of Hermosa Mine On Patagonia’s Water Supply

Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) and Earthworks have released a new peer-reviewed report on the impact to Patagonia’s water supply from the proposed Hermosa mine, to be sited within the upper reaches of Harshaw Creek—a portion of Patagonia’s Municipal Supply Watershed. Earthworks is an established national environmental organization whose mission is to protect the environment from the impacts of irresponsible mineral and energy development. The primary focus of their study was the effect of the mine on our available water supply, acid mine drainage, heavy metals leaching, and groundwater contamination. Patagonia Regional Times 11/2014

 

Water Is Key to Arizona Mining Lawsuit

A mineral exploration project in a southern Arizona mountain range will destroy the creekside haunts of jaguars and ocelots and suck up the water supply of the small town of Patagonia, watchdog groups claim in Federal Court. Defenders of Wildlife and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance sued the U.S. Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday. They claim the agencies ignored federal environmental laws in approving Vancouver-based Regal Resources’ “Sunnyside Project” in September. Courthouse News Service 10/31/2014

 

Arizona Mining Review

15:07: Interview with Floyd Gray, United States Geological Survey: September Rains and Orange Mine Runoff in the Patagonia Mountains, Southeastern Arizona Arizona Geological Survey 10/29/2014

 

Lawsuit filed over Patagonia Mountains mine project

Environmental groups filed suit Wednesday to block efforts by a Canadian mining firm from looking for copper in the Patagonia Mountains. Defenders of Wildlife and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance are asking U.S. District Court Judge James Soto to void permission granted to Regal Resources Inc. by the U.S. Forest Service to drill exploratory bore holes up to 6,500 feet deep in the Alum Gulch area. The groups contend the federal agency violated federal laws and regulations by authorizing what has been called the Sunnyside Project. Arizona Daily Star 10/29/2014

 

Report claims new mine would hurt water levels in Patagonia

A new report from an organization opposing a potential mine in southern Arizona finds that the development would hurt Patagonia’s water supply. Patagonia Area Resource Alliance released the report Tuesday. Group coordinator Wendy Russell said it was important for the organization, collaborating with Earthworks, have the study peer reviewed by a hydrologist and a United States Geological Survey scientist to provide credibility. “We think the facts speak for themselves that this is not a good place for a mine,” said Russell. Tucson News Now 10/29/2014

 

Water wells drying up on Tucson’s fringes

Wells are drying up all around the fringes of Tucson — the Tortolita foothills on the north, the Santa Rita Mountain foothills on the south, the Tanque Verde Valley to the east, parts of the Tucson Mountain foothills on the west. Arizona Daily Star 10/25/2014

 

Stop hating on NIMBYs. They’re saving communities.

The term NIMBY – “not in my back yard”– has long been used to criticize people who oppose commercial or industrial development in their communities. Invariably pejorative, it casts citizens as selfish individualists who care only for themselves, hypocrites who want the benefits of modernity without paying its costs. Communities and individuals who oppose fracking, nuclear power, high voltage power lines, and diverse other forms of development have all been accused of NIMBYism. It’s time to rethink this term. Washington Post 10/23/2014

 

All eyes on town water and Patagonia Lake amid mine seepage

Authorities say the brightly colored water leaking from abandoned mine sites in the Patagonia Mountains is not impacting either Patagonia Lake or the town’s water supply, though a geologist who visited the sites says that iron-rich runoff had previously washed down Sonoita Creek and into the lake. Weekly Bulletin 10/22/2014

 

ADEQ: Patagonia mine wasn’t source of orange sludge

Contrary to what a federal official and environmentalists have said, an old Patagonia Mountains mine overseen by the state environmental agency didn’t spew orange sludge pollution into a neighboring stream last month, the agency said Tuesday. An Arizona Department of Environmental Quality official said the agency has no evidence that the orange muck came from the Trench Camp Mine lying six miles south of the town of Patagonia. It’s a statement that astonished environmentalist critics of the Patagonia area’s mining industry and contradicted a state inspection report. Arizona Daily Star 10/22/2014

 

The problem with America’s abandoned mines

A mine plans its death before its birth. The leftover waste from mines is so hazardous that mining companies must figure out what to do with it decades in advance, even before they start digging. That’s how it works today, at least. But in 1981, when the United States government began requiring mines to have rehabilitation plans, many operators simply up and left instead. The government has identified about 46,000 abandoned mines on public lands alone. Some of them are top-priority Superfund sites. Center for Investigative Reporting 10/21/2014

 

Some Patagonia residents concerned about orange colored water

Many residents in Patagonia are concerned about the water coming from the Trench Camp and Lead Queen Mines that overflowed last month because of heavy rainfall caused by Hurricane Odile. The Patagonia Area Resource Alliance said it is monitoring the water claiming the water had a PH level that was very acidic. KVOA 10/20/2014

 

Orange Sludge Oozes Into Arizona Waterways From Abandoned Mines

When record breaking rain from former Hurricane Norbert and Hurricane Odile moved into the Southwest last month, residents of Patagonia, Arizona, might have expected local waterways to flood, but they definitely didn’t expect them to turn orange. But that’s exactly what happened just outside the sleepy Santa Cruz County town after two local abandoned mines flooded and sent a surge of toxic substances into creeks in the area. Tuscon’s KMSB Fox 11 details how, Gooch Goodwin, a member of the local conservation group the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA), stumbled upon the orange flow while on a hike weeks ago. The Weather Channel 10/17/2014

 

Patagonia residents on alert after abandoned mines found leaking sludge

The town of Patagonia was on alert after The Arizona Department of Environmental quality issued a notice of violation to an Asarco trust that owned the Trench Camp mine near Patagonia. The area was a popular tourist attraction, and an environmental watchdog group in the area was concerned about possible water contamination resulting from the sludge, that was an orange-brown in color. Wendy Russell, coordinator of the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) said the Trench Camp and Lead Queen mines overflowed late last month because of heavy rainfall caused by Hurricane Odile. Gooch Goodwin, a member of PARA accidentally discovered the sludge while hiking in the area a couple weeks ago. He was alarmed because the sludge was in the area creeks. “It’s dangerous and it’s getting in our waterways. This actually flows into Sonoita Creek which goes into Patagonia Lake,” said Goodwin. Tucson News Now 10/16/2014

 

Closed Patagonia mines send orange sludge into creeks

Authorities are struggling to deal with pollution that streamed from two old mines into Patagonia-area canyons during recent storms in the form of orange sludge and reddish-brown liquids with a milky coating. The heavy rains of mid-September washed out acids, minerals and possibly heavy metals into two canyons, both of which eventually drain into Harshaw Creek, said Floyd Gray, a U.S. Geological Survey official in Tucson who went to both sites and collected samples of the contamination. Harshaw Creek, whose watershed supplies part of Patagonia’s town water supply, is a tributary to Sonoita Creek, a stream that’s long been beloved by bird-watchers and other naturalists. Arizona Daily Star 10/15/2014

 

Orange Sludge Spills From Abandoned Arizona Mines, Threatening Popular Lake

A popular tourist attraction in southern Arizona is at risk of being contaminated with orange and brown sludge that spilled from two abandoned mines near Patagonia. The Trench Camp and Lead Queen mines overflowed late last month because of heavy rainfall caused by Hurricane Odile. HuffPost 10/15/2014

 

Mine cited for orange sludge in Arizona waterways

Patagonia residents were happy for rain last month, until they noticed orange sludge, bright red trickles and liquid the color of iced tea heading toward their waterways. Those September storms brought leaks from inactive mines in the mountains, potential danger to wildlife in Santa Cruz County and citations from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Arizona Republic 10/14/2014

 

In Wisconsin, Dark Money Got a Mining Company What It Wanted

An accidentally released court filing reveals how one company secretly gave money to a nonprofit that helped get favorable mining legislation passed. ProPublica 10/14/2014

 

Mexican authorities pinpoint cause of mine spill

More than two months after a copper sulfate acid solution poured out of a containment pond and polluted the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers, questions continue about the long-term environmental impact of the toxic mine spill. The toxic mine spill that polluted the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers occurred because mine owner Grupo México was using installations that weren’t yet finished and did not have the necessary operating permits, in violation of several federal laws, said Arturo Rodríguez Abitia, deputy director for industrial inspection at Mexico’s Federal Department of Environmental Protection, Profepa. Arizona Daily Star 10/11/2014

 

Hayden, Miami smelters slated for upgrades

Owners of Arizona’s two copper smelters plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that federal officials say have fouled the air in two Central Arizona communities. Arizona Daily Star 10/11/2014

 

Resolution Copper invests in mine despite obstacles

The project has cost $1.2 billion so far and will take perhaps five times that amount in additional preparation work before a single ounce of copper is retrieved from the depths. Despite the money invested, Resolution has a variety of obstacles to overcome that range from “minor” details like providing cool air to the steamy depths of a shaft to the difficult task of persuading Congress to allow access to the copper deposit. Arizona Republic 10/11/2014

 

Costs of Mexico copper mine spill climbs to almost $140 million

The estimated cost of environmental damage from the spill from a copper mine operated by Grupo Mexico (BMV:GMEXICOB) in Sonora State last August has been estimated in over $133.7 million, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) said. The figure, Radio Imagen (in Spanish) reports, is based on preliminary assessments of the damage caused to water, flora, fauna, and wildlife, as well as information on water quality from the Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) and the National Forest Commission (Conafor) on ecological effects. MINING.com 10/9/2014

 

Development at Any Cost: A False Premise

A new age of mining has dramatically expanded in recent years. Open pit, extensive, corporate, and multinational operations threaten the Mexican landscape. The prospect of ecological disasters looms across one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. This shadow is darkest in the Sonoran Desert. Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers News Release 10/7/2014

Sen. John McCain visits Resolution mine, pledges support

Sen. John McCain went underground Tuesday to visit miners developing the Resolution Copper Project in Superior, telling them their industry is important to the state and that he will continue to push for legislation to help the mine. Arizona Republic 10/6/2014

 

Spill verified; Probably small compared to Rio Sonora spills

An undetermined amount of what looked like sulfuric acid metallic leach solution from the Grupo Mexico Buenavista Cananea, Sonora mine entered the north-flowing San Pedro River on the Sonoran side of the border between Sept. 17-20, following heavy rains on Sept. 17-18, in Cananea, according to both a local government and mining officials. Wilcox Range News 10/6/2014

 

Mexico’s toxic spill leaves fear, anger in wake

The makeshift town hall was packed by the time Mayor Vidal Vázquez arrived. The residents of this small town of a few hundred people, which shares the name with the nearby river where millions of gallons of toxic solution were dumped, had been waiting for him. Nearly two months after the Aug. 6 and 7 copper mine spill, which was followed by heavy rains brought by Hurricane Odile that further contaminated the land, residents are frustrated and feel as though they’ve been forgotten. Arizona Daily Star 10/6/2014

 

Leaking Historic Patagonia Arizona Mines

Toxic Mining Contaminants Threaten People and Wildlife in Arizona. Video and interviews with local experts on abandoned mine overflows in the Patagonia Mountains of southern Arizona in September, 2014. Producer: Frances Causey/Adhara Media LLC Cinematographer. Editor: Rogelio Garcia. 10/5/2014

 

Livelihoods washed away by toxic spill in Sonora

Between Aug. 6 and 7, about 11 million gallons of copper sulfate acid solution spilled from Cananea’s Buenavista del Cobre mine into the Bacanuchi River, a tributary of the Sonora River. The San Pedro River runs north from Cananea, about 25 miles from the Arizona border, while the Sonora River flows south. The spill contaminated the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers and left more than 25,000 people in seven counties without water. Mexican officials called it their country’s worst mining spill in recent history. And then it got worse. More than a month after the spill, heavy rains from Hurricane Odile caused the dams to overflow and the river to swell, soaking nearby fields with toxic water. The crops are ruined and the people don’t know if they’ll be able to grow on their land again. Arizona Daily Star 10/5/2014

 

Arizona’s yellow-billed cuckoo gets federal protection

A white-bellied bird known for the “kowlp” call it sounds from mesquite trees and willow woodlands is Arizona’s newest threatened species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that it will list the western yellow-billed cuckoo under the Endangered Species Act. The cuckoo’s official protection starts Nov. 3. Arizona Republic 10/3/2014

 

Asarco’s Toxic Trail In Our Own Back Yard

On September 24, Patagonia resident Gooch Goodwin discovered a stream of bright orange water running into Harshaw Creek. The next day he found a similar situation at Alum Gulch. Goodwin notified U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) officials of the situation, and they, in turn, notified the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Coronado National Forest. On September 26, USGS and ADEQ sent people to Patagonia to assess the streams. Patagonia Regional Times 10/2014

 

Forest Service Fast Tracks Mining Exploration in Patagonia Mountains

The Sierra Vista Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service recently issued a “categorical exclusion” to foreign-owned Regal Resources for its proposed “Sunnyside” exploratory mineral drilling project in Humboldt Canyon of the Patagonia Mountains. A categorical exclusion is a policy short-cut that allows mineral, energy, or geophysical investigations on public lands that meet certain specifications to avoid undergoing a detailed environmental analysis and public process. There are questions as to whether the Sunnyside Project indeed meets all of the specifications required for a categorical exclusion. Vermilion Flycatcher October 2014

 

Hard Times Ahead for a Natural Oasis?

We like to think of the Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia as a safe space for birds and people alike, but life is rarely so simple. Both birds and people depend upon a much larger context for their survival than what is immediately obvious. Sadly we’ve learned that exploratory mineral drilling—and the disturbance of vital habitat—has now been sanctioned in the heart of the Patagonia Mountains, without appropriate environmental studies. Vermilion Flycatcher October 2014

 

Patagonia Mountains IBA and Our Special Azure Bluebird

The Arizona Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program has reached an exciting phase in its eleventh year and is perfectly situated to spring into its twelfth next year. One recent highlight was the highly anticipated addition of the Patagonia Mountains IBA to this network of Arizona sites recognized for their critical role as habitat for native birds. Vermilion Flycatcher October 2014

 

Court Upholds Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Ban

Arizona’s Havasupai Tribe and a coalition of conservation groups are praising Judge David Campbell’s decision today to uphold the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across one million acres of public lands adjacent to Grand Canyon. The court ruled that the decision complied with federal environmental laws and that it was not too large, as plaintiffs had argued. At stake is protecting the aquifers and streams that feed the Colorado River and Grand Canyon from toxic uranium mining waste and depletion. Center for Biological Diversity News Release 9/30/2014

 

Environmental watchdog group concerned about discolored water in Patagonia Mountains

An environmental watchdog group is sounding the alarm after finding discolored water flowing through Southern Arizona streams and creeks. It is in an area rich in mining history, the Patagonia Mountains. Wendy Russell, the coordinator of the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance said there were about 130 abandoned mines dating to the 1800s in those mountains. Russell said last week’s heavy rains caused some of the abandoned mines to leach chemicals into the watershed. Tucson News Now 9/29/2014

 

Rosemont’s Cienega restoration plan goes nowhere

Rosemont Copper’s plan to compensate for the proposed mine’s impacts on nearby streams appears dead — again. The plan, discussed off and on for well over a year and already left for dead once, was for mine owner Hudbay Minerals Inc. to buy hundreds of acre-feet of water rights to Cienega Creek on the county’s far southeast side from owners of a nearby golf course. Arizona Daily Star 9/27/2014

 

IN MY VIEW: Rosemont and our growing Southwest water shortage

Our minds then turn to the proposed Rosemont Mine. Focusing just on the millions of gallons of water needed for this mining project leaves us shaking our heads. Why don’t people get it? We can’t afford the water usage over the next 20 years for the sake of a handful of jobs over that time period. How arrogant can these promoters be, to sacrifice what quality water may exist today strictly for the profit of a minuscule number of people and to the exclusion of millions of Americans now and in the future. But then, politicians and bureaucrats have been “kicking the can down the road” for decades, leaving the problems they create to future generations to solve. Green Valley News 9/27/2014

 

Toxic Mining Contaminants Threaten People and Wildlife in Arizona

Contaminants from a mine spill in Cananea, Sonora earlier this summer have likely reached the San Pedro River flowing into Arizona. And with recent storms, old copper and silver mine sites near Patagonia are leaking bright red contaminants into local streams. These toxic reminders of our mining history have the potential to wreak havoc on local water supplies and wildlife in the Coronado National Forest, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Defenders of Wildlife/Patagonia Area Resource Alliance News Release 9/26/2014

 

Judge Tosses Out Pebble Mine Company’s Lawsuit Against Environmental Protection Agency

A judge today dismissed a case brought by the Pebble Limited Partnership and State of Alaska against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for exercising its responsibilities under the Clean Water Act for a public review of a plan to protect some of the world’s greatest salmon runs, in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Earthjustice News Release 9/26/2014

 

Mexico Mine Spill May Have Sent Contaminated Water To Arizona

Nobody is sure exactly what type of contaminants may have entered the San Pedro River in Mexico and Arizona. But Arizona environmental groups said there has been a history of spills containing dangerous heavy metals from mines in northern Mexico before. Sergio Avila is with the Sky Island Alliance in Tucson and he said mining mishaps aren’t always reported in Mexico. “The communities don’t dare to say or to denounce these affects because those mining companies are their employers. They feel threatened that if they speak about the quality of life, the diminished quality of life that these mining companies put in their communities, they will lose their jobs,” Avila said. Meanwhile, Mexico’s Civil Patrol is warning residents who live near the San Pedro south of the border not to drink the water or use it for their livestock or farming operations until further notice. KJZZ 91.5 9/23/2014

 

Mexico warns Arizona of waste spill into river

Authorities are testing water from the San Pedro River in southern Arizona that may be contaminated with toxic waste that traveled north after a massive copper mine spill in Mexico this summer. Mexican officials on Monday issued a binational alert that contaminated water had made its way into the San Pedro River, which runs north to Pinal County in Arizona. The contamination came from Buenavista del Cobre mine in Cananea, said Carlos Jesus Arias, director of the Sonora state civil protection agency. Officials have not said how much waste leaked, or what exactly was in the spill. Arizona Daily Star 9/23/2014

 

Public Floods EPA with Support for Protection of Bristol Bay from Mining

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received approximately 700,000 comments in support of its plan to use its Clean Water Act authority to restrict mine waste disposal from the Pebble Mine proposed in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. When combined with previous public input, over 1.5 million comments have been submitted in favor of Bristol Bay protection, including broad and diverse support from Alaska Native Tribes, commercial fishermen, hunters and anglers, businesses like CREDO Mobile, churches, conservation groups, restaurants, jewelers and investors. Earthworks News Release 9/22/2014

 

Rosemont owner drilling to confirm earlier copper estimates

Drill rigs are out on the proposed Rosemont Mine site, carrying out a four-month, $8 million effort by the project’s new owner to learn more about the copper reserves it hopes to mine. Hudbay Minerals Inc. says it’s drilling to try to confirm earlier estimates of copper reserves and resources on the mine site, which outside analysts have said is a world-class copper deposit — but whose very presence has stirred huge opposition among a wide range of interest groups and some government agencies. Arizona Daily Star 9/20/2014

 

Mexican authorities say mine still leaking acid

A Mexican copper mine which spewed millions of gallons of acid into a river last month is still causing pollution and the facility’s owners are blocking the work of investigators probing the accident, authorities said. The massive acid leak in August, involving some 40,000 cubic meters (10.6 million gallons) of sulfuric acid, was one of Mexico’s largest ever mining-related environmental disasters. Agence France‑Presse 9/20/2014

 

Mine spill devastates Mexican farmers

More than 140km away from where the incident happened, agriculture and cattle ranching has been paralysed in seven towns along the river. The affected municipalities of Bacanuchi, Banamichi, San Felipe de Jesus, Aconchi, Arizpe, Ures, and San Jose de Garcia are part of a region known as the historical spine of the state, and have thrived because of the river. The aftermath of the spill, however, has left 22,000 people along the Sonora river without a regular running water supply. Al Jazeera 9/17/2014

 

Mount Polley tailings spill effects could last for decades

Next spring, the sockeye eggs that are now being laid in spawning beds throughout the Fraser River system will hatch and the young fish – by the hundreds of millions – will migrate into lakes to rear. And that, at least in one lake, could be a disaster. Quesnel Lake, into which 24 million cubic metres of water and mine tailings flushed when the Mount Polley tailings dam burst, is one of the biggest and most important sockeye nurseries in the province. No matter how hard Imperial Metals works to clean up the tailings that escaped, the heavy metals that swept down into Quesnel Lake are still there, settling out on the bottom, where they will slowly be taken up into the food chain. Globe and Mail 9/14/2014

 

Grupo Mexico to spend $151m on toxic spill clean-up at Buenavista copper mine

Grupo Mexico and its subsidiaries have agreed to spend $151m to clean-up the toxic spill at its Buenavista del Cobre copper mine in Sonara last month. The decision is part of the agreement between Grupo Mexico and the Mexican Government, where the company has agreed to pay for any environmental and human damage caused by the spill at the mine. On 6 August, around 40,000m³ of copper sulfate acid solution from Buenavista mine reportedly spilled into the Bacanuchi River in north-west Mexico, killing fish and livestock, and leaving many residents without clean water. Mining Technology 9/12/2014

 

Recent Mining Disasters Underscore Significant Challenges Posed by Huge Open Pit Mining Projects

[Recent] mining disasters undoubtedly increase the concerns of southern Arizonans who have been warning for years about threats from the proposed mile-wide, and half-mile deep Rosemont open-pit copper mine. The mine would sit just miles south of Tucson, the state’s second largest city. In fact, the Arizona Game and Fish Department specifically warned that water from Rosemont could leach highly toxic metals from the dry stack tailings and contaminate downstream waterways for up to 500 years. HuffPost Green 9/9/2014

 

Mount Polley whistleblower lost job, then home

Larry Chambers warned Imperial Metals that its tailings pond was bound to fail – and he was fired for it, the Likely, BC resident told media in Vancouver earlier today. He and his wife, Lawna Bourassa-Keuster, have now lost their home on once-beautiful Quensnel Lake – too afraid to drink the cloudy and discoloured water, which they brought with them to Vancouver in a jar. Common Sense Canadian 9/8/2014

 

Farmers, miners and fishers can help re-wild Australia in a way that brings prosperity to all

Yes, there is indeed a way that Australia can ensure for itself food and fuel security and prosperity while reversing the tide of extinction that is now rolling over our native landscapes and wildlife, including the Great Barrier Reef. Furthermore, it will provide better incomes for both farmers and fishers, a healthier diet for consumers and an entirely new and perpetually-sustainable industry for miners. Canberra Times 9/8/2014

 

Catastrophe looms as mines are left in the dumps

Most South African gold mines are set to close in the next 25 years. Now a repeat of catastrophes playing out at Grootvlei in Springs and Blyvooruitzicht near Carletonville seems inevitable on a far bigger scale if government cannot find a solution. Gold mining, once the backbone of the economy, has fallen on dire times, and the legal framework is making it impossible to successfully close mines in the country. This has plunged communities living around those mines into economic, social and environmental crisis. Business Times 9/7/2014

 

Gogebic Taconite May Be Backing Off Mining Proposal

Faced with growing citizen opposition, Gogebic Taconite may be wavering in its plans to build one of the world’s biggest open pit iron ore mines in the pristine Penokee Mountains in Northern Wisconsin. Indian Country Today 9/5/2014

 

What If Your Small Town Suddenly Got Huge?

When thousands of oil-field workers descended on Watford City, North Dakota, they completely redefined its character and economy. Atlantic 9/4/2014

 

No Apology From Mining Tycoon German Larrea For Worst Ecological Disaster In Mexico’s History

Grupo Mexico, the mining giant owned by German Larrea Mota Velasco, Mexico’s second richest man, has been in the center of a political storm since one of its mines in northern Mexico caused the worst ecological disaster in Mexican history. According to Mexico’s federal environmental protection agency, Profepa, on August 6 Grupo Mexico’s subsidiary Buenavista del Cobre mine spilled 10 million gallons (40,000 cubic meters) of copper sulfate acid into the Sonora and Bacanuchi rivers, 25 miles south of the border with Arizona. Forbes 9/2/2014

 

Nogales vendors nix contamination fears, give imported produce all-clear

Less than a month after a massive chemical spill contaminated a Sonora, Mexico river–Nogales, Arizona vendors are giving imported produce the all-clear and nixing any contamination fears. According to the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, the August 7 [mining] spill, which poured an estimated 10 million gallons of contaminated water into the Sonora River, will not affect produce imported from Mexico to the United States. KGUN9 9/2/2014

 

Mexico forces partial closure of mine responsible for massive toxic spill

Mexico’s environmental prosecutor Profepa has imposed a new partial order of closure on Grupo Mexico’s (BMV:GMEXICOB) Buenavista copper mine, which polluted waterways with highly toxic waste last month, forcing authorities to restrict water supply to about 800,000 people. The order, state’s news agency Notimex reports (in Spanish), comes as Grupo Mexico failed to abide by applicable rules, incurring in “highly risky activities,” according to Profepa. Mining.com 9/2/2014

 

Stewardship in the Southwest Borderlands

People here yearn to become better stewards of this land, to find a more stable way to inhabit this landscape. Conservationists like those at Borderlands Restoration are working with communities and ecosystems to realize this vision. Borderlands is an ecological restoration group based in rural Patagonia, Arizona that works to return natural processes and restore habitat in an effort to create an environment for people and all living things to reconnect and thrive. Landscapes Blog 9/1/2014

 

Mine Tales: Notable labor strikes in Arizona history

Relationships between mining companies and miners in Arizona history were at times challenging. Low wages, ethnic tension, profiteering, and a volatile metal market, coupled with foreign importation of metals, heightened conflict between labor and mine management. Arizona Daily Star 9/1/2014

 

Busy rainy month can’t erase deficit

August was a wet month across much of Southern Arizona, with the notable exception of Tucson International Airport. As a result, Tucson remains officially in a deficit for summer rain totals, even though few people in the area are disappointed. Arizona Daily Star 9/1/2014

 

Mining News

In June, Canadian-based transnational mining company HudBay Minerals reached an agreement to take over Augusta Resources and its Rosemont open-pit copper mine project. According to MiningWatch, a watchdog organization focused on mining activities in Canada, HudBay has demonstrated “a profound disrespect for the environments and communities where it operates.” HudBay is currently being sued for negligence in Canadian courts in connection with violent crimes at its former nickel project in eastern Guatemala, including the murder of an indigenous Mayan land rights activist by mine security guards. In Manitoba, the company has failed to adequately consult indigenous communities; operated a dirty smelter that was Canada’s largest point source of mercury and other toxic emissions until it closed in 2010; and failed to adequately rehabilitate closed mine sites. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

Restoring Nature’s Diversity

Late last winter Lynda Prim arrived in Patagonia to take over management of the Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) conservation farm. An anthropologist, educator, farm advisor, and advocate in sustainable organic agriculture for over 30 years, she found a daunting situation. The man who ran and maintained the farm equipment had quit, and nearly every machine was in need of repair. Then the well pump broke down and had to be replaced. Her she was with a new job in an unfamiliar place, and her closest support system was in Tucson. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

The Nature Preserve Has a New Manager

Luke Reese is the newly appointed manager of the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve. Reese has a degree in forestry and worked part-time at the preserve in 2012 as a member of Ameri-Corps, a civil society program. Providing education and outreach, he worked with volunteers in stewardship activities such as managing trails and mapping the size and location of every Fremont cottonwood tree on the preserve. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

Through the Eyes of a Botanist

The abundance of life in the grasslands during monsoon season is such a treat! Come with me as I take a deeper look. Imagine we are walking around in the green abundance, hoping to avoid chiggers and looking for flowering plants. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

Lingering Lushness – Late Summer Wildflowers

We hit the monsoon jackpot this year, as evidenced by our rather ostentatious display of native flowers. While the Sky Islands and the adjoining Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts are all rightly acclaimed for their spring floral fireworks, it is summer’s show that we can most depend upon each year. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

Seminars To Be Offered at Avalon EcoVillage

Avalon Organic Gardens and EcoVillage will host a four-day seminar on a broad number of topics related to sustainability beginning October 23, at their model community in Avalon. The community, developed over the past 25 years, was created as an experimental prototype and is the largest EcoVillage in the United States. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

Town Awarded $5000 for Trees

Under the stewardship of Patagonia’s Tree and Park Committee (Cornelia O’Connor, Ann Gosline, Andee Wood, Jason Botz, Barbara Ellis, Bethany Brandt, Caleb Weaver, German Quiroga, Harry Hower, Yunghi Choi, Susan Englebry, and Mary Mckay) Patagonia has achieved the status of a Tree City USA. This national program provides the framework for community forest management. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

Redefining Rural Economic Development

On August 7 and 8, I attended the Eighth Annual Rural Policy Forum in Globe to learn more about other Arizona rural communities. The sold-out conference was presented by the Arizona Rural Development Council and Local First Arizona. Attendance was evenly divided among government representatives, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Patagonia Regional Times 9/2014

 

‘Megadrought’ risk up to 50 percent, scientists say

The odds of a potentially devastating Southwestern “megadrought” due to human-caused climate change are as high as 50 percent in this century, a new study finds. The chances of a megadrought lasting more than 35 years are 10 to 50 percent, says the study, in which University of Arizona researchers played key roles. The highest risks are in parts of Southeastern Arizona and in southwest Texas, they say. Arizona Daily Star 8/30/2014

 

Steller: Asarco’s gain is homeowners’ loss as taxes soar

Yet today’s more stable and responsible Asarco has delivered residents of the communities where it operates a clean financial slap. Somehow, the full-cash value of the company’s property in Gila County has dropped from almost $700 million for the 2012 tax year to just over $100 million for the 2014 tax year. Arizona Daily Star 8/30/2014

 

When the Levee Breaks

Mother Nature has a way of reminding us that humility is a trait that humans too often lack. Take, for instance, the engineering firm Knight Piesold, which stated that “modern dam design technologies are based on proven scientific/engineering principles and there is no basis for asserting that they will not stand the test of time.” Until they don’t. Earlier this month a tailings dam designed by Knight Piesold at the Mount Polley copper mine breached, dumping up to 10 million cubic meters of heavily contaminated water into surrounding streams, rivers and lakes in central British Columbia. HuffPost 8/28/2014

 

35-Year ‘Megadrought’ May Threaten Southwest Within Century, Study Finds

Thanks to the expected effects of climate change, there’s at least an 80 percent chance of a decade-long drought occurring in the Southwest over the next century, a new study has found. “This will be worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years and would pose unprecedented challenges to water resources in the region,” Toby Ault, lead author of the study, said in a press release Wednesday. HuffPost 8/28/2014

 

Expert talks water woes with town

Water levels in one of the Town of Patagonia’s two wells, which both average the same depth, has declined 27 feet since 2008, leaving approximately 40 feet of water. That’s according to a presentation given during a special Town Council meeting on Aug. 14 by Alison Jones, a senior hydrologist with Clear Creek Associates. Weekly Bulletin 8/27/2014

 

Rosemont Explanatory Drilling in Santa Ritas Starts Next Month

The owner of the proposed Rosemont Copper mine plans to start explanatory drilling in the Santa Rita Mountains next month. Staring in September, Hudbay Minerals will spend the rest of the year trying to learn more about the site southeast of Tucson. The company will spend $8 million on exploratory drilling operations on private property already owned by the company. Arizona Public Media 8/27/2014

 

Mine Waste Pollutes More Rivers in Mexico

Mexico has been hit hard these past few weeks with two separate mine waste spills. One was a toxic mine spill that occurred two weeks ago in the state of Sonora, which I blogged about here. Here, 10 million gallons of sulfuric acid spilled from the Buenavista copper mine, contaminating two rivers and leaving thousands of people without access to water. Reports also found fish kills and cattle who drank the water dead. EARTHWORKS Blog 8/27/2014

 

A Wake-up Call for Canada’s Mining Industry

When a tailings pond broke at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in south-central B.C., spilling millions of cubic metres of waste into a salmon-bearing stream, B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett called it an “extremely rare” occurrence, the first in 40 years for mines operating here. He failed to mention the 46 “dangerous or unusual occurrences” that B.C’s chief inspector of mines reported at tailings ponds in the province between 2000 and 2012, as well as breaches at non-operating mine sites. HuffPost BC 8/27/2014

 

Water Treatment in Perpetuity: Who is really to blame?

Last week I travelled to Albuquerque to attend an EPA-hosted national technical conference on “Mining Influenced Waters” – a toned-down phrase that describes water pollution caused by mining. The cases laid out were all severe enough to warrant multi-million dollar remedial actions and treatment operations, and at most of these sites, someone will be footing the bill forever. EARTHWORKS Blog 8/25/2014

 

Train carrying sulfuric acid derails near Santa Cruz River in Sonora

A train carrying sulfuric acid reportedly derailed near the north-flowing Santa Cruz River in Sonora on Sunday, but it did not appear that any of the corrosive spilled. The Hermosillo daily El Imparcial, citing Sonora state civil protection officials, reported that the derailment occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Ejido Miguel Aleman, a community in the municipality of Santa Cruz, approximately 25 miles southeast of Nogales, Sonora. Nogales International 8/25/2014

 

After Mount Polley, a Recipe for Better Mines

Could the Mount Polley disaster have been prevented? It’s a difficult question to answer, with an independent investigation of the tailings dam breach just getting underway. Certainly, concerns about the engineering of the tailings dam and the recent decline in mine inspections suggest the incident was not entirely unpredictable. But if we change the question — if we look ahead and ask how similar accidents can be avoided — answers are easier to come by. And they indicate it’s not only tailings ponds that need to be changed; it’s our whole approach to mining. Tyee 8/25/2014

 

Study: Conservation a Top Election Issue for Latinos

Clean air and water are top concerns for the majority of Hispanic voters, according to a new report. The research analyzed a series of recent Latino public opinion polls, said Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation. It’s important for political candidates to understand how to connect with Hispanic voters, she said, and on election issues, it isn’t just about immigration. The report shows that Hispanics prefer policies and candidates that actively promote a cleaner environment and preserving public lands. Public News Service 8/22/2014

 

How much money is a healthy ecosystem worth?

David Batker is the chief economist and co-founder of Tacoma-based think-tank, Earth Economics, which recently completed an appraisal of the Colorado River Basin, the largest of its kind. There is a real dollar value to healthy natural systems, he says. After all, “the pipes are useless with no water.” If you did value nature for the services it provides economies, how much would it cost? High Country News 8/21/2014

 

Cananea mine spill leaves residents fearful for 150 miles south

The Grupo Mexico Cananea Buena Vista mine spilled millions of gallons of sulfuric acid leach solution on Thursday, Aug. 7 containing huge amounts of copper and other metals and contaminants into the Rio Bacanuchi, continuing into the Rio Sonora south and east of Cananea, according to a mine and governmental officials. The contamination has resulted in many miles of a red-flowing river south at least 150 miles to Mazacahui, Sonora leaving dead fish, dead cattle who likely drank from the river and seven municipal-county areas receiving bottled water — prohibited for an indefinite period to drink from municipal and private potable wells, and a population wondering how long their lands and water would be polluted. Willcox Range News 8/21/2014

 

Farmers feel economic impact of Sonora River acid spill as milk is discarded

In terms of lost milk, the cost of the Sonora River mine spill has reached 1 million pesos as raw milk is being turned away by a pasteurization plant in Hermosillo, worsening the contamination crisis that began August 7. The area produces about 28,000 liters of milk daily, but it is not fit for human consumption due to the presence of heavy metals in high concentrations, says a local producer. Mexico News Daily 8/20/2014

 

Imperial Metals Mount Polley disaster could cost $500 million, but bonds only a fraction of this amount

Analysts say cleanup costs for Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley tailings disaster could cost anywhere from $50 million to $500 million, but the security bonds available today to help cover that are now a fraction of that. Documents from the Ministry of Energy and Mines on July 25, 2013 suggest that Mount Polley Mining Corporation (owned by Imperial Metals) was expected to pay security bonds of $38 million by 2023, and that it had deposited $14.5 million as of March 2014. Vancouver Observer 8/20/2014

 

Summer rains in a drought-plagued state

The monsoons have, undoubtedly, given the residents of drought-plagued New Mexico and Arizona some measure of emotional relief. But how much real drought relief have they delivered? High Country News 8/19/2014

 

Mine’s massive acid spill disrupts lives along Sonora river

A mining sulfuric acid spill into the Sonora River, south of the Bisbee-Naco border, has contaminated the drinking water supply for a string of towns and could be just the tip of the iceberg, according to residents in Mexico. Arizona Daily Star 8/19/2014

 

Top 10 wineries in Arizona

Our Explore Arizona team picks their favorite wineries in Arizona including Dos Cabezas Wineworks, Arizona Hops and Vines, Caduceus Cellars and more. Arizona Republic 8/18/2014

 

Aplazan vuelta clases en Sonora por derrame tóxico

Un total de 88 escuelas del norte de México no podrán iniciar las clases este lunes, como en el resto del país, ante el peligro de que puedan consumir agua contaminada con los 40.000 metros cúbicos de ácidos procedentes de una mina de cobre que se vertieron en dos ríos de la zona, dijeron autoridades. Arizona Daily Star 8/18/2014

 

Mining Spill Near U.S. Border Closes 88 Schools, Leaves Thousands Of Mexicans Without Water

An acid spill from a large copper mine in northern Mexico is keeping 88 schools closed starting Monday due to uncertainty over the safety of drinking water. The 12-day-old spill, which sent 10 million gallons (40,000 cubic meters) of toxic wastewater into portions of the Bacanuchi and Sonora rivers, may keep schools closed for over a week according to the Associated Press. The Buenavista copper mine, one of the largest copper mines in the world, is located in Cananea, Sonora, about 25 miles south of the U.S. border near Nogales, Arizona. The mine is operated by Grupo Mexico, one of the world’s largest copper producers. Grupo Mexico’s American subsidiary, Asarco, is nearing a deal to gain full ownership of the Silver Bell copper mine across the U.S. border in Marana, Arizona and has been subject to major environmental misconduct charges in the past relating to its mining operations. ThinkProgress
8/18/2014

 

Biologists who warned of harm to jaguar were overruled

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists in Tucson warned more than a year ago that the proposed Rosemont Mine could kill or harm the nation’s only known wild jaguar, federal records show. They also said the mine would illegally destroy or modify the endangered cat’s critical habitat, records show. But those conclusions, contained in three preliminary drafts of a key biological opinion on the mine, were changed in the final draft. Arizona Daily Star 8/17/2014

 

US seeks to protect Southern Arizona cuckoo habitat

Two Southern Arizona streams already enmeshed in controversy have been proposed for federal habitat protection for the Western yellow-billed cuckoo. If Cienega Creek near Tucson and the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista make the cuckoo’s critical habitat list, that could put restrictions on the proposed Rosemont Mine in this area and on development in general in parts of Cochise County. Under federal law, destruction or significant damage — formally called “adverse modification” — to critical habitat is illegal. Arizona Daily Star 8/16/2014

 

Critical habitat proposal could hurt Arizona mine

The federal government has announced a proposal to designate an area near a proposed mine south of Tucson as a critical habitat for the yellow-billed cuckoo. Washington Times 8/15/2014

 

Emergencia ambiental en Durango por mina que derramó cianuro

En el municipio El Oro, Durango, ocurrió otra emergencia ambiental en una mina, ya que la presa de jales de la empresa Proyecto Magistral derramó alrededor de 2 mil metros cúbicos de agua con cianuro al arroyo La Cruz, informó la Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (Profepa). La Journada 8/14/2014

 

Mexico mine spills 500,000 gallons of cyanide

A mine in northern Mexico spilled over a half-million gallons of a cyanide solution used in heap-leach gold mining, after heavy rains caused a retaining pond to overflow. The accident occurred at the Proyecto Magistral mine in the northern state of Durango. Business Standard 8/14/2014

 

First Nation Will Evict Mining Company After Massive Spill Contaminated Area Water

Earlier this month, hundreds of Canadians were unable to use their water after 1.3 billion gallons of slurry from an open pit mine in British Columbia spilled into nearby lakes, rivers and creeks. Now, a B.C. First Nation plans to evict the company, Imperial Metals Corp., over another project on their territory, CBC News reported. ThinkProgress 8/14/2014

 

Mining firm slow to alert gov’t of spill, Mexico says

A civil defense official says a private mine owned by Grupo Mexico in northern Mexico did not immediately report a massive acid spill, allowing it to flow into a river that supplies water to tens of thousands of people. Arizona Daily Star 8/13/2014

 

With ban lifted, residents refuse to drink water after Mount Polley mine disaster

Residents in Likely, B.C. are concerned about drinking water affected by Mount Polley mining waste even after a water use ban was lifted for areas downstream of Quesnel Lake. The ban was put into effect on August 5, 2014, one day after the tailings pond at Mount Polley mine breached, sending billions of litres of mining waste into Hazeltine Creek, which feeds Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River. Vancouver Observer 8/12/2014

 

Southwest braces as Lake Mead water levels drop

Once-teeming Lake Mead marinas are idle as a 14-year drought steadily drops water levels to historic lows. Officials from nearby Las Vegas are pushing conservation, but are also drilling a new pipeline to keep drawing water from the lake. Hundreds of miles away, farmers who receive water from the lake behind Hoover Dam are preparing for the worst. Arizona Daily Star 8/12/2014

 

Chemicals From A Mine In Mexico Contaminate Water Supply 25 Miles From U.S. Border

About 10 million gallons of contaminated wastewater have spilled into rivers from a mine in northern Mexico, and federal officials announced Sunday they are restricting water supply to cities and towns in the country’s north, including the Sonora state capital of Hermosillo. Fox News Latino 8/11/2014

 

Proposed Arizona copper mine may threaten ocelot and jaguar

A lone male ocelot has become a symbol of the conflict between conservationists and federal officials over a proposal to build an open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, just south of Tucson. The discovery of the ocelot in April prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reexamine its 2013 biological opinion that the Rosemont Copper mine would not unduly harm habitat for endangered species in the area, including the only known jaguar in the United States. Los Angeles Times 8/11/2014

 

Uranium mining on Navajo Reservation: How we did this

Uranium mining for America’s Cold War nuclear arms buildup has proved a lasting scourge on the nation’s largest American Indian reservation, and one that the same government that demanded the ore has been slow to address. As the last of the sickened Navajo miners are stricken with lung diseases, younger generations are coping with kidney disease and other ailments, wondering whether the radioactive wastes have also sickened them. Meanwhile, hundreds of abandoned mines remain hazards with a cleanup cost that will stretch into the billions of dollars. Arizona Republic 8/10/2014

Reports Of Skin Falling Off Salmon After Mount Polley Mine Spill

Reports of sickly salmon with skin that’s peeling off have prompted a First Nations fishing shutdown in British Columbia’s Cariboo region, which was hit by a mining waste spill this week. A dam holding back the tailings pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in central B.C. failed on Monday, releasing 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of silt into nearby creeks, rivers and lakes. Huffington Post B.C. 8/8/2014

 

Town wells show signs of recovery, others dry up

Town of Patagonia officials say wells have begun to recover somewhat, but residents along Harshaw Road are still seeing the effects of the recent dry spell. Water levels “have come up a couple of inches,” Town Manager Dave Teel said about the town’s two wells which have replenished over the last month after he said they became alarmingly low this spring. Weekly Bulletin 8/6/2014

 

Letter: Science, Not Politics, Should Steer Decision on Arizona Copper Mine, Endangered Species

The Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter today urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to again take an in-depth look at how the proposed Rosemont copper mine in southern Arizona will affect endangered species, including jaguars, ocelots and rare fish. Agency scientists, in earlier drafts of their “biological opinion” of the project, concluded the mine would not be compatible with endangered animals in the area, including the only jaguar known to be living in the United States. That conclusion was later reversed by a supervisor. The Service, though, announced earlier this year it would revisit that opinion in the face of new information. Center for Biological Diversity Press Release 8/5/2014

 

Nogales City Council candidate Greg Lucero will make creating jobs in Nogales a top priority

Building up local business will be job one for Greg Lucero if he is elected to the Nogales City Council, he said. Lucero is running for one of the three open seats on the council, setting him up to compete with five other candidates in the upcoming elections. Nogales International 8/5/2014

 

Residents calling it an environmental disaster: tailings pond breach at Mount Polley Mine near Likely, BC

Local residents are calling it an environmental disaster. A breach of the tailings pond on Mount Polley Mine sent five million cubic metres [4000 acre feet] of toxic waste into Hazeltine Creek, Quesnel Lake and Polley Lake, with fears it could spread far and wide in the coming days. Global News 8/4/2014

 

Ag Tourism Touted as Way to Boost Rural Economies

With its sweet fruit-flavored liqueurs, a working farm and eccentric cast of characters— including a dancing lemon — Bloomery Plantation Distillery has attracted tourists from every U.S. state and countries as far away as Laos and Iceland. The West Virginia mini-distillery is part of a growing agriculture tourism trend that advocates say can help revive struggling rural economies. Ag tourism refers to working farm enterprises geared to visitors, encompassing farm stands, pumpkin patches, barn dances, zip-line rides, pick-your-own berries, corn mazes and even weddings. Associated Press 8/4/2014

 

The Legacy of the World’s Fair Mine

Two scientists, Jessica Gwinn and Peter Reinthal, are studying and comparing Alum Creek and its surrounding watershed with Humbolt and Harshaw Creeks. Alum Creek is the site of the World’s Fair Mine, which was closed in 1940. They assess the health of the creeks by counting aquatic invertebrates. Patagonia Regional Times 8/1/2014

 

A Disaster Waiting to Happen

In December 2013, I travelled to Patagonia, Arizona, to meet the folks at the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance – a group working to protect their backyard mountain range from numerous mining exploration proposals. The most advanced of all these – Wildcat Silver’s Hermosa Project – appeared to be a disaster waiting to happen. Earthworks Journal 8/1/2014

 

National Parks Brought $774 Million to Arizona in 2013

A report released this month by the National Park Service shows that visitors to Arizona’s national parks in 2013 spent $773.9 million and supported nearly 12,000 jobs in the state. More than 10 million people visited national parks in Arizona last year, the report says. Nationwide, nearly 275 million people visited national parks in 2013, and those visits created a benefit of $26.5 billion to the U.S. economy. Arizona Highways 7/28/2014

 

Arizona, mining company reach settlement

Arizona environmental regulators have announced that a mining company will pay $40,000 in civil penalties under a settlement for twice illegally discharging water mixed with mill tailings into the Gila River in 2012. Associated Press 7/25/2014

 

Rosemont mine is lynchpin to Hudbay’s plan to construct massive industrial mining complex in southern Arizona

In the wake of taking control of Augusta Resource Corp. and its Rosemont Copper Company subsidiary, Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals is already looking to expand its planned industrial mining operations in the Santa Rita Mountains to other sites in Southern Arizona, Hudbay President and CEO David Garofalo told the Green Valley News & Sun editorial board this week. Rosemont Mine Truth 7/25/2014

 

First national study finds trees saving lives, reducing respiratory problems: Air pollution modeling reveals broad-scale impacts of pollution removal by trees

In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms. USFS News 7/25/2014

 

NASA Satellites Reveal Shocking Groundwater Loss In Colorado River Basin

Groundwater losses from the Colorado River basin appear massive enough to challenge long-term water supplies for the seven states and parts of Mexico that it serves, according to a new study released Thursday that used NASA satellites. Huff Post 7/24/2014

 

Victory For Navajo Grassroots Groups Over Uranium Mining

Concerned Diné Citizens, a coalition of Navajo grassroots organizations and residents opposed to uranium mining, applaud the Navajo Nation Council’s vote to close a loophole created by a previous uranium mining legislation Tuesday (7/22/14) which had authorized access over Navajo Trust Land to a uranium mining company Uranium Resources Incorporated (URI). Popular Resistance 7/24/2014

 

The Comeback Cat

Jaguars are returning to a portion of their historic range in the southwestern United States, having surmounted numerous obstacles along the increasingly militarized US-Mexico border. Yet whether this mysterious carnivore will be able to make a full comeback is in doubt as the animal faces continued hostility from many humans. Earth Island Journal 7/23/2014

 

Hudbay plans to seek more mining operations in area

Three days after taking over the proposed Rosemont Mine, Hudbay Minerals executives came to Green Valley and Sahuarita on Tuesday and said they are setting up an Arizona business unit to look for more mining opportunities in the state and region. Green Valley News 7/22/2014

 

Coming Soon: A New Standard for More Responsible Mining

Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) releases a new draft Standard for Responsible Mining in an effort to develop a global set of best practices for more responsible mining. Our goal is to launch a certification scheme in late 2015 based on independent, third-party verification of compliance around social and environmental performance at industrial-scale mine sites. To make the most effective Standard possible, we need your feedback. Earthworks Blog 7/22/2014

 

Introducing: Seven Saturdays in Patagonia

HIKE, LEARN, EAT. Starting this fall—one Saturday per month, October through April—Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds will offer three separate activities in Patagonia. Tucson Audubon Blog 7/22/2014

 

Visitors to Saguaro National Park boost local economy

Visiting a national park has more of an impact than one might think. A new economic impact report from the National Park Service says that 678,261 visitors to both districts of Tucson’s Saguaro National Park helped boost the local economy by more than $41 million last year. Arizona Daily Star 7/21/2014

 

EPA’s proposed limits pose roadblock for Alaska’s Bristol Bay mine

The Obama administration proposed mining restrictions in Alaska on Friday that would protect what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency described as “one of the world’s most valuable salmon fisheries,” but which critics said could effectively halt development of one of the largest open pit mines on the planet. Los Angeles Times 7/18/2014

 

Project Hopes to Photograph Jaguars, Ocelots Near Tucson

Researchers from the U.S. Geologic Survey and the University of Arizona are taking part in a three-year project to photograph jaguars and ocelots living in the mountains surrounding Tucson. The scientists have camera traps set up at more than 200 places in the mountains. Once a month, the scientists hike into the mountains to check the cameras, change the batteries, swap out the memory cards and perform general maintenance. Arizona Public Media 7/18/2014

 

What We Must Not Accept

I just stepped out of a small roundtable discussion with, among others, Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Director Ashe told the small group that he sees a “giant clash” between those who favor conservation and those who favor economic development and that he believes that conservationists “must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.” The Director of the very agency most responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity went on to say that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity.” Defenders of Wildlife Blog 7/17/2014

 

Federal Appeals Court Upholds EPA Efforts to Protect Appalachian Waters and Communities

Today, a federal appeals court sided with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a large coalition of citizen groups in upholding an Obama administration policy to scrutinize pollution from severe mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against the National Mining Association, the State of West Virginia, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and other coal industry groups, who brought the case against the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Earthjustice News Release 7/11/2014

 

Congressional initiative would end billions in public land and mineral giveaways, protect scarce water, create jobs

U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (OR-4) and Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Ranking Member Raul Grijalva today introduced a long-needed overhaul of the 142-year-old law governing mining of minerals such as gold, copper and uranium on federally-managed public lands. “This bill is a win-win for taxpayers and the environment,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director for Earthworks. “This outdated relic of a law costs Americans billions and puts our water at risk.” EARTHWORKS News Release 7/10/2014

 

Canadian Mining Watchdog Warns Arizonans of HudBay Minerals’ Poor Track Record on Pollution and Human Rights

In June, Canadian-based trans-national mining company HudBay Minerals reached an agreement to take over Augusta Resources and its controversial Rosemont open-pit copper mine project near Tucson. The newcomer to Arizona is no stranger to controversy. MiningWatch Canada – an Ottawa-based watchdog group – reports that HudBay has a troubling track record of contamination and human rights abuses in the Canadian province of Manitoba and the Central American country of Guatemala. MiningWatch Canada News Release 7/10/2014

 

Northern Mexican gartersnake listed as threatened species

A rare gartersnake subspecies that exists across Southern Arizona gained federal protection Monday. The northern Mexican gartersnake and the narrow headed gartersnake, which lives mainly in central Arizona’s Mogollon Rim and southwestern New Mexico, were listed as threatened species Monday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Arizona Daily Star 7/7/2014

 

Another Important Step in Patagonia’s Ecotourism Efforts

How important an economic engine is eco-tourism? A 2011 study by the Arizona Game and Fish Department projected direct and indirect economic benefit for Patagonia’s home county, Santa Cruz, at 21.2 million dollars, including 6.7 million dollars in salaries and wages. Although Patagonia has only a small share of the county population, it has a large share of its eco-tourism. Vermilion Flycatcher Tucson Audubon July–September 2014

 

Two New IBAs in Arizona

There are two new Important Bird Areas in Arizona, bringing the grand total up to 45. Patagonia Mountains IBA is an area that is great for birds and increasing in popularity as a birding destination since a Blue Jay was found during an IBA survey here. This is an excellent place for Eastern “Azure” Bluebirds, Montezuma Quail and, as it turns out, Elegant Trogons. Many years of volunteer effort have gone into this mountain range and I am proud to announce that this area is now an IBA. Vermilion Flycatcher Tucson Audubon July–September 2014

 

The Paton Center for Hummingbirds

Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds is the birding community’s gift to itself, to birders around the globe, and—of course—to the birds. Tucson Audubon knows the value of this jewel. While preserving the legacy of Wally and Marion Paton, we are investing in the Paton Center’s future. Here is a sneak-peek into our developing vision. Vermilion Flycatcher Tucson Audubon July–September 2014

 

Link to June-January 2014 Patagonia News

Link to 2013 Patagonia News

Link to 2012 Patagonia News

Link to 2011 Patagonia News