2016 Patagonia News
Local, State, and National News that affects the Patagonia, Arizona Area
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2016 Patagonia News
As President-elect Trump prepares to take over the executive branch, the Washington, D.C.-based Endangered Species Coalition today released a Top 10 list of endangered wildlife in need of strong protective measures. The report, “Removing the Walls to Recovery: Top 10 Species Priorities for a New Administration,” highlights the most significant threats to vanishing species ranging from elephants to corals and including jaguars, directly threatened by border walls. Center for Biological Diversity 12/21/2016
Environmental groups are criticizing the details of a proposed recovery plan for the northern jaguar released Monday by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, arguing that the plan is too weak to protect the species from extinction. Tucson Sentinel 12/20/2016
Don’t get too excited by the new jaguar.
He’s just a stray cat, wandering the northern limits of his species’ range. He’s just a curiosity in today’s Arizona, insignificant in the greater scheme.
That’s the message from officialdom now that we know there is another new male jaguar roaming the Arizona borderlands. Arizona Daily Star 12/18/2016
Zinc-concentrate-penalty-thresholds don’t usually come up over lunch. But they have become a hot topic in the mining industry this week, as analysts try to wrap their heads around Taylor, a large zinc deposit in the US. Global Mining Observer 12/13/2016
A male jaguar — likely the sixth documented in the Southwest since 1996 — was photographed last week on Fort Huachuca, authorities said Wednesday.
The jaguar is believed to be separate from the male jaguar known as “El Jefe,” who was photographed from 2012 to 2015 in the Santa Rita Mountains, authorities said. It was the first confirmed jaguar sighting ever at Fort Huachuca, said Angie Camara, a Fort Huachuca spokeswoman. Arizona Daily Star 12/7/2016
On its face, the ascension of Donald Trump to the White House should be a boon for the long-delayed $1.5 billion Rosemont Mine, which would be this country’s third-largest copper mine.
But it’s not that simple, say three outside experts who have worked for federal environmental agencies under both major political parties. With a final federal decision on Rosemont approaching soon, a pro-business Trump administration would undoubtedly be more favorably inclined than some Obama administration officials have been. But that doesn’t make Rosemont a done deal, say the experts — two law professors and a top official for a nonprofit water group. Arizona Daily Star 12/4/2016
According to the US Forest Service (USFS) website, Arizona Mining Inc. has withdrawn their request to expand exploratory drilling onto Forest Service land. That request was the subject of public comments sent in to the USFS by many local residents a few months ago. The PRT learned of this development just before going to press, and we expect to know more about the reason for AMI’s withdrawal, and to report on it, in our next issue. Patagonia Regional Times 12/2016
Laura Norman, a research physical scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, will give a talk at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Patagonia Public Library.
Norman has spent 18 years modeling watersheds in the U.S.-Mexico border region and her master’s thesis investigated the flow of water and erosion processes associated with acid-mine drainage in the Patagonia Mountains. Her upcoming talk will include the following topics: Nogales International 11/29/2016
The Patagonia Town Council’s special workshop on Tuesday was all about “being proactive,” said Councilwoman Meg Gilbert. In preparation for possible low water levels and road damage caused by an increase in trucks driving through Patagonia, council members and around 20 residents gathered to discuss drafts of a new drought response plan and heavy vehicle ordinance.
Although it was never mentioned at Tuesday’s meeting, mining is related to the topics discussed because mining operations use large amounts of water and heavy trucks. As [Town Manager David] Teel said afterward, mining “underlies everything that happens in Patagonia.” Nogales International 11/25/2016
A former Rosemont Copper lobbyist served as the head of President-elect Donald Trump’s Interior Department transition team before being removed this week in an apparent purge of lobbyists from the team. Arizona Daily Star 11/25/2016
It seems that the town of Patagonia has agreed to disagree and move forward, knowing that exploratory drilling is taking place and that real mining may come, and that they must work together so that the town isn’t torn apart. There are certainly committed factions in town—that was clear at the last town council meeting on October 26. Patagonia Regional Times 11/2016
Late this summer Arizona Mining (AMI) submitted a plan of operation to the Forest Service, proposing to extend their drilling onto public land. The Forest Service issued a Scoping Notice to the public in September asking for citizen comments. On its website, the Forest Service explains: “Citizens often have valuable information about places and resources that they value and the potential environmental, social, and economic effects that proposed federal actions may have on those places and resources. NEPA’s requirements provide you the means to work with the agencies so they can take your information into account.” Patagonia Regional Times 11/2016
At a council meeting in June, Patagonia’s Town Council voided the ordinance (Sec. 11-4-4) created in 2011, which imposed weight limits for use of town roads by double axle vehicles. The ordinance, which limited vehicle weight on town roads to 17,500 lbs., had not been enforced and was determined to be problematic. Mayor Ike Isaksen stated that enforcement would require that every street in town display signs stating the restriction, and it was noted that the town would have to purchase a weight scale to check incoming truck traffic. Both measures were said to be beyond the town’s budget. Patagonia Regional Times 11/2016
Over 140 vendors filled Patagonia’s expansive park October 7-9, attracting over 13,000 visitors, according to the Fall Festival’s manager, Bonnie Maclean. Young and old enjoyed a variety of entertainment. El Jefe, the Jaguar, roamed through the crowd as the mascot for the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance, serving as a reminder of the unique biodiversity of our local environment and the precious natural balance of this place we call home. Patagonia Regional Times 11/2016
Although most of the vendors traveled from outside the area to attend the festival, there was a definite local flavor to the event. The Patagonia Area Resource Alliance, which works to preserve and protect the Patagonia mountains, also offered face-painting, decorating people as jaguars in an effort to publicize the efforts to protect the animal’s habitat in Southern Arizona. Patagonia librarian Laura Wenzel, dressed in a jaguar costume, posed for photos and answered visitors’ questions about this endangered species. Nogales International 10/14/2016
Exploratory drilling is already underway at another mining site within a mile of the proposed Hermosa-Taylor drilling area near the U.S.-Mexico border. Photo by Gooch Goodwin, courtesy of Defenders of Wildlife.
Environmentalists are gearing up to battle another mining proposal within the home range of America’s only known jaguar.
Coronado National Forest officials have just started reviewing the proposed Hermosa project, exploratory drilling about 50 miles southeast of Tucson, Ariz., near the U.S.-Mexico border. E&E 10/13/2016
Imagine a little-known national treasure — a largely wild land home to ocelots, exotic and imperiled birds like elegant trogons and Mexican spotted owls, imperiled reptiles and amphibians like the threatened Chiricuahua leopard frog, and El Jefe, the only jaguar currently living in the United States. This is the Mountain Empire of southern Arizona, a place as special as Yosemite or Yellowstone, and worthy of international recognition. Extending across the border into northern Sonora, Mexico, this region is bounded by mountains that rise from the flat desert floor to touch the sky. With one of the richest concentrations of biodiversity in the U.S., the Mountain Empire is a sanctuary for imperiled species. But even a sanctuary can be threatened. Defenders of Wildlife Blog 10/4/2016
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Welfare Institute today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that endangered ocelots aren’t inadvertently killed as part of the Department’s long-running program to kill coyotes, bears, bobcats and other wildlife in Arizona and Texas. The Department’s Wildlife Services program kills tens of thousands of animals in the two states every year using traps, snares and poisons. Center for Biological Diversity 10/4/2016
The Coronado National Forest is accepting public comments on a proposal by Arizona Minerals to develop eight exploratory drill holes at three sites near Patagonia.
The Hermosa-Taylor Deposit Drilling Project calls for the drilling to be done on National Forest land in the Patagonia Mountains, six miles southeast of the town. Nogales International 9/29/2016
The Coronado National Forest (CNF) is accepting your comments on a proposed Plan of Operations (Plan) for the Hermosa-Taylor Deposit Drilling Project, submitted by Arizona Minerals, Inc. (AMI).
Although time periods for scoping are not legally mandated, typically a scoping period is 30 calendar days. Based on publication of the Legal Notice in the Nogales International on September 9, 2016, and taking into consideration the weekend of October 8 and Columbus Day, Monday October 10 being a federal holiday, the end date of the scoping period for this proposal will be October 11, 2016. willcoxrangenews.com 9/28/2016
The San Carlos Apache Tribe and environmental groups have filed two related lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service and Tonto National Forest supervisor Neil Bosworth, objecting to approval of a mining company’s plans to start preliminary activities on its proposed mine waste site. Arizona Daily Star 9/17/2016
Geologist Gary Hix, an expert on private water-well maintenance, will speak at Cady Hall in Patagonia at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. His talk is titled “The Connection between Surface Water, Groundwater and Private Wells” and is presented by the Friends of Sonoita Creek advocacy group. Refreshments will be served and admission is free and open to all. Nogales International 9/15/2016
An environmental cleanup, conducted in Feb. 2016 at the Lead Queen Mine in the Sierra Vista Ranger District, will be getting an upgrade, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service. Tucson News Now 9/2/2016
Rainy weather has once again wreaked havoc on repairs performed at the leaky Lead Queen Mine near Patagonia, forcing the Coronado National Forest to design a system to augment existing environmental cleanup work at the site. Nogales International 9/2/2016
The three open seats on the Patagonia Town Council were decided outright in Tuesday’s primary election with Michael Stabile, Ron Reibslager and Melissa Murrietta each earning votes on a majority of ballots, leaving no room for incumbent Gilbert Quiroga. Nogales International 8/31/2016
Trucks traveling on town roads in Patagonia could face some new, more relaxed rules if revisions discussed at a workshop last week are adopted by the town council. But questions remain as to whether new regulations will be applied any more strictly than the current, essentially non-enforced rules. Nogales International 8/30/2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a recovery plan that will guide restoration and protection of the ocelot populations in Arizona and Texas and in bordering Mexican states of Sonora and Tamaulipas. The ultimate goal of the plan is to increase the number of ocelots in both nations, protect their habitat and create connecting habitat corridors between Arizona and Sonora and between Texas and Tamaulipas. This unique endangered cat ranges as far south as Argentina, but in the U.S. is found only in two small areas of Arizona and Texas. Defenders of Wildlife 8/15/2016
The way biologist Chris Bugbee sees it, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is worth 1,000 pictures. But the move also cost him his volunteer status with the University of Arizona-run jaguar research project, through which he first put cameras in the Santa Ritas’ jaguar habitat. He previously had worked as a paid employee on the project for nearly three years. Arizona Daily Star 8/14/2016
Efforts to stop a toxic mess spilling from a mine in Santa Cruz County may soon be back to square one, and it’s all because of Mother Nature. Environmental advocates with the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance said due to Tuesday’s monsoon storms, several gabions were either displaced or overflowed. Gabions are similar to makeshift dams that were put in place by the U.S. Forest Service last year to filter any discharge of acid mine drainage at the Lead Queen Mine in the Patagonia Mountains. Tucson News Now 8/13/2016
Although the creeks had considerably receded by Wednesday morning, the prospect of more Tropical Storm Javier-related rains throughout the day prompted Patagonia officials to keep the Red Cross shelter at the Patagonia Community Methodist Church open. Nogales International 8/10/2016
The anti-mining message of the movie is reflected in this description from the film’s website. “The natural beauty of the mountains, streams and wildlife along with its community of people is set against the short-term monetary gain of a mining company,” it says. Nogales International 8/5/2016
An article in theTown Code restricting overweight trucks from traveling on Patagonia roads was voided and the council decided to study bulk water sales during a packed meeting on Wednesday. The two issues were precipitated by Arizona Mining activity at the Hermosa mine southeast of Patagonia. Nogales International 7/29/2016
Part of a vibrant wildlife corridor, the oak-pine woodlands and scrub grasslands of the Patagonia Mountains are prized by hikers, rock climbers, bird watchers and community members for their wealth of natural beauty.
But some are looking for a different kind of treasure hidden deep below this land’s rusty-brown surface.
Tucked into the folds of this 15-mile sky island, Canadian mining company Arizona Mining, formerly Wildcat Silver Corporation, has accumulated thousands of acres of patented and unpatented land for its Hermosa mining project, where an ample deposit of zinc, lead and silver is currently being explored for a future multi-billion dollar mining operation, said Greg Lucero, the firm’s vice president of community and government affairs. Nogales International 7/29/2016
A federal Clean Water Act permit should be denied to the proposed Rosemont Mine southeast of Tucson, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Los Angeles regional office says. Arizona Daily Star 7/29/2016
The proposed Rosemont Mine won a big legal victory Tuesday when an Arizona Court of Appeals panel overturned a lower court ruling blocking the mine’s air-quality permit. Arizona Daily Star 7/13/2016
A controversial plan to build a mine in the territory of El Jefe — the sole jaguar known to be roaming in the U.S. — has prompted the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Arizona Republic 6/29/2016
The Environmental Protection Agency won’t release memos and other documents to another federal agency on the latest Rosemont Mine mitigation plan and on the mine’s general impacts. It’s citing a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption, to protect what it calls the integrity of the deliberative process. But the University of Arizona’s journalism school chief, David Cuillier, says the agency’s action raises questions about what it’s trying to hide. Arizona Daily Star 6/26/2016
A beefed-up plan to compensate for damages to washes from the proposed Rosemont Mine faces an Army Corps of Engineers decision in the next few weeks, a Corps spokesman says. Arizona Daily Star 6/26/2016
Early last Saturday under already sweltering conditions, a half-dozen men and women heaved bread loaf-sized rocks into a large drainage on the outskirts of the Patagonia Mountains to create a “zuni bowl” – a rock structure designed to control erosion. Nogales International 6/24/2016
A few years back Arizona Minerals, AKA Wildcat Silver, said they had discovered a great big silver deposit up in the Patagonia Mountains. They were going to recover over a million ounces of silver at a lower cost then any other silver mine in the country.
Suddenly there was talk from people associated with Arizona Minerals about a new and better discovery: lead and zinc with some silver.
I recommend that concerned citizens of Patagonia drive up Harshaw Road and view the destruction that has taken place as Arizona Mining mounts an expedited drilling program to try and prove their discovery. Patagonia Regional Times 6/2016
On April 12, these signs appeared along Harshaw Road in the area where it passes through land owned by Arizona Mining. Some were free standing, others attached to state road signs. The warnings seemed authoritative, implying that Arizona Mining had the right to prohibit people from taking photographs on a public road. Patagonia Regional Times 6/2016
This tanker truck was observed filling up many times with water from Patagonia’s town well last weekend. The water is being used regularly by mining construction personnel to keep dust down out on Harshaw Road where mining traffic has been heavy in the past weeks. Due to a significant leak in the bottom of the truck’s water tank, water pooled below the truck and sent a stream down Naugle Avenue. How precious is our water? Patagonia Regional Times 6/2016
The Santa Rita mountain range, known globally for its birds and arduous hikes, now has another distinction — it’s the only place in the U.S. and Canada where four wild cat species are known to have lived. Arizona Daily Star 6/12/2016
The male jaguar that roamed three years through the Santa Rita Mountains is “biologically insignificant,” an Arizona Game and Fish Department official says. Officials for Rosemont Copper, the company proposing to build the Rosemont Mine in the Santa Ritas, also downplay the significance of the jaguar and its habitat. Arizona Daily Star 6/12/2016
The tiny, thin bird darted from oak to juniper trees in the Santa Rita Mountains, uttering soft “whip” calls, catching insects and occasionally flying over a birdwatcher’s head. That was the pine flycatcher’s public introduction to Arizona and the United States. The Mexican bird, very hard to identify, was recorded in this country for the first time at a remote, rarely visited spring area in a grove of lush woodlands in late May. Arizona Daily Star 6/6/2016
With its final biological opinion on the proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains just outside of Tucson, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has drawn up an eviction notice — and possibly a death sentence — for America’s only known jaguar. Arizona Daily Star 6/5/2016
In under five minutes, the Benson City Council on Wednesday approved a 40-year development agreement with developer El Dorado Holdings, during a special meeting that didn’t allow for public comment. Arizona Daily Star 6/3/2016
An adult male jaguar — the only known wild jaguar in the United States — found a home in the Santa Rita Mountains and didn’t just visit from Mexico, a new study concludes. Arizona Daily Star 5/26/2016
A lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was filed today in federal court in Arizona to protect the San Pedro River, and the wildlife and millions of migratory birds that depend on it. Sierra Club Press Release 5/25/2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it used the best available science to reach its biological opinion that the Rosemont Mine won’t jeopardize 12 endangered species living nearby. Arizona Daily Star 5/8/2016
US Fish & Wildlife: Jaguar El Jefe, Other Endangered Species in Santa Ritas Will Survive Despite Rosemont Copper Mine
On Tuesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave final biological approval to the proposed Rosemont copper mine, saying the only known jaguar in the United States, El Jefe—and other species living in the Santa Rita Mountains—will be able to coexist with the mine. Tucson Weekly 5/4/2016
A federal agency gave the proposed Rosemont Mine its final biological clearance Tuesday, saying the mine won’t jeopardize a dozen imperiled species living on or near its site or illegally destroy their habitat. Arizona Daily Star 5/4/2016
The proposed Rosemont Mine will not jeopardize the existence or illegally destroy habitat for 12 imperiled species living in and around the mine site, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday. Arizona Daily Star 5/3/2016
The three-day event was sponsored by the Arizona Trail association, Borderlands Restoration, Mountain Empire Trail Association, Patagonia Area Resource Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, The Patagonia Museum and Tucson Audubon Paton Center. Nogales International 4/28/16
In a recent interview, a top Environmental Protection Agency official gave no clues as to whether the EPA would refer the project for a higher-level review before the U.S. Forest Service makes its final decision on the mine, proposed for the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. Arizona Daily Star 4/27/2016
A key document was turned over to the U.S. Forest Service on Friday, pushing the decade-old, $1.5 billion Rosemont Mine project one step closer to a final decision. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent its final biological opinion on the proposed mine to the Forest Service, ending a formal review of the mine’s impacts on imperiled species that’s lasted nearly two years. Arizona Daily Star 4/24/2016
Little improvement is expected this year in the dismal state of Southern Arizona’s copper industry due to the continued slump in global copper prices. Arizona Daily Star 4/24/2016
Arizona, California and Nevada negotiators are moving toward a major agreement triggering cuts in Colorado River water deliveries to Southern and Central Arizona to avert much more severe cuts in the future. Arizona Daily Star 4/24/2016
Amid the rotten support beams, tangled mine cart tracks and deteriorating structures, small mountains of crushed rock and mine tailings packed with toxic heavy metals rise in the middle of the drainage. When heavy rains come, water washes that material down to Sonoita Creek, which in turn carries it on to Patagonia Lake, where much of it settles, according to Eli Curiel, an environmental engineer with the Coronado National Forest (CNF). Nogales International 4/22/2016
To make sure constellations remain clear inside city limits for generations to come, as Orion and others were Wednesday night, the town council is considering regulations that would govern lighting on new properties and those with major modifications. Nogales International 4/21/2016
An endangered ocelot was photographed less than one-third of a mile from the site of the proposed Rosemont Mine, a federal agency says. Arizona Daily Star 3/21/2016
Winter rains are testing repairs to the Lead Queen Mine near Patagonia, which was sealed in November after heavy metals leached into a drainage above Harshaw Creek in 2014. Weekly Bulletin 3/16/2016
The proposed Rosemont Mine faces potentially lengthy construction delays due to low copper prices, just as the project heads into what could be a final round of government permitting. Arizona Daily Star 2/6/2016
Opponents of the proposed Rosemont Mine were cheering news that the open-pit project in the Santa Rita Mountains has been delayed indefinitely. Officials from Rosemont Copper’s Canadian parent company, Hudbay Minerals, announced on Feb. 24 that the project has been put on hold because of low copper prices and regulatory hurdles. But company officials added in a press release that they still plan to move forward with the Rosemont mine once copper prices rebound. The Range 2/1/2016
On video, the United States’ only jaguar is a graceful presence. He pads through the forest of Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains, sunlight dappling his spotted coat. The phrase “charismatic megafauna” never seemed so apt. Live Science 3/1/2016
A Canadian mining company says it expects a delay in construction of a major project in southern Arizona but is proceeding with engineering and permitting work. HudBay Minerals Inc. says it remains committed to the Rosemont Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. News 4 Tucson 2/29/2016
The recently-released video of a solitary male jaguar in the Santa Rita Mountain range south of Tucson has reignited the long-running debate about habitat preservation and mining. Arizona Public Media 2/26/2016
The celebrity of El Jefe — America’s lone wild jaguar, roaming through streams and brush in the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson — has gone viral with the recent release of a video from Conservation CATalyst and the Center for Biological Diversity. Arizona Republic 2/25/2016
The state mine inspector estimates there are roughly 100,000 abandoned mines in Arizona. But environmental officials have no way of knowing how many of those mines are leaching toxic residues, metals or compounds into the environment. Tucson News Now 2/25/2016
Local non-profit Arizona Land and Water Trust has been awarded $5.9 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for land and water conservation work near Fort Huachuca. Arizona Public Media 2/22/2016
It’s hard not to enjoy this beautiful weather, but the balmy days also should serve as a reminder that the climate is warming and drying. As a result we have to change our way of dealing with water. We do need the reminder. Arizona, you see, is in a bit of a self-satisfied mood when it comes to discussing water management. Arizona Daily Star 2/20/2016
A new study offers an additional warning for the troubled San Pedro River: Recharge of rainfall runoff into its underlying aquifer will diminish over the next century due to climate change. Arizona Daily Star 2/19/2016
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. on Monday said it reached a deal to sell part of its stake in an Arizona copper mine to one of the mine’s other owners, in an effort to pay down debt. NASDAQ 2/16/2016
30 Minutes spoke with Gary Paul Nabhan, Ph.D., about Tucson’s recent designation as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy and what that means. He is the newly appointed director for Center for Regional Food Studies. Nabhan discussed the breadth of Tucson’s food cultures as well as the importance of food justice and food security for everyone in our community. KXCI 2/14/2016
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas: Survival of America’s only known wild jaguar seriously threatened by proposed Rosemont Mine
A trail camera video of America’s only known wild jaguar is attracting widespread media and focusing attention on the direct threat to the survival of this endangered predator by the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine. PR Newswire 2/8/2016
Video of a rare solitary jaguar roaming the mountains just south of Tucson was released Wednesday. The big cat, dubbed “El Jefe” in a naming contest, is the only wild jaguar known to live in the United States. Tucson Sentinel 2/3/2016
Energy, mining, and utilities workers across the world are the least happy in their jobs, a new study published this week shows. Mining.com 2/1/2016
Today, the Court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop letting polluters off the hook for the contamination they cause. For 30 years, the EPA has failed to issue rules under CERCLA, the “Superfund” law, to hold industries accountable, up front, for cleanup costs. As a result, company after company has found a way to pass the cost of environmental disasters on to taxpayers. Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a decision that will help to fix that. Earthworks 1/29/2016
With sales and operations at the ends of the earth, few companies are in a better position to take the pulse of the global economy and the resource sector in particular than Caterpillar. The world’s number one heavy equipment manufacturer has been hit hard by the decline in mining and construction – sales are down more than $20 billion from its peak just four years ago after a drop of over $8 billion last year. Caterpillar said in September it would cut as many as 10,000 jobs in a three-year restructuring program. Mining.com 1/28/2016
Four conservation groups, represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, filed suit today against the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona, aiming to protect wildlife and cultural resources from motorized cross-country travel. At issue are decisions in Travel Management Plans to allow motor vehicles to travel up to one mile off of all open roads. Less than 10 percent of the forest remains free from motorized vehicles as a result of the decisions. Sierra Club 1/25/2016
After failed attempts to dialogue with HudBay Minerals, the Velille Defence Front, community presidents, community boards, the Chumbivilcas Defence Front and nearby districts have announced a preventative strike for 72 hours starting January 25, 2016 against the company’s Peruvian subsidiary HudBay Perú S.A.C. HudBay’s open-pit Constancia copper project is located within the districts of Velille, Chamaca and Livitaca, in the province of Chumbivilcas, department of Cusco, Peru. The community organizations of Velille are demanding that the company meet various economic, social and environmental demands. Mining Watch 1/25/2016
Betty Amparano has been sounding the alarm about environmental pollution in her hometown of Hayden, Arizona for nearly 20 years. In November, the effort finally seemed to pay off, as ASARCO, the company that owns the copper smelter in Hayden, agreed to a settlement with the EPA that will cost the company more than $160-million in fines and smelter improvements that are meant to reduce pollution and its effects on the community. Tucson News Now 1/22/2016
On June 29, 2015 the EPA and Department of Defense published a rule called the Clean Water Rule. The rule elaborated the definition of the term “waters of the United States” to include certain bodies of water under the regulatory authority of the EPA through the 1972 Clean Water Act. It was put into effect two months later on August 28, but states petitioned in court. On October 9 the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit suspended the rule until further notice. GovTrack 1/22/2016
The controversial Mount Polley mine received both millions of dollars in contracts and a written warning from Canada’s environment department prior to a massive breach of a dam with mining waste in 2014, according to a newly released federal memorandum. National Observer 1/18/2016
When the dams holding waste from a Brazilian iron ore mine collapsed in November, it triggered a huge, harmful mud wave that blanketed villages and polluted a major river flowing into the Atlantic. The torrent carried billions of gallons of mud and waste, killing at least 17 people, leaving hundreds of families homeless, wiping out wildlife and unleashing other devastation that, all together, the government considers to be Brazil’s worst environmental disaster ever. GlobalPost 1/17/2016
Hudbay Minerals is expected to make a crucial decision on the future of its Rosemont copper prospect by mid-summer when the Toronto-based miner completes an ongoing “definitive” feasibility study. Hudbay says it will spend $30 million completing the study that will provide the foundation for its decision on future investments in the massive open pit copper project that would be constructed in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson. Rosemont Mine Truth 1/15/2016
A feeble attempt at a rally yesterday evaporated on Friday with the copper price hitting a fresh six-and-half year low of $1.9365 a pound ($4,270 a tonne) after falling nearly 2% in New York. Following a 26% decline in 2015, copper is already down 9% this year and worth less than half its peak as commodity investors choose to ignore fundamentals pointing to recovery. Mining.com 1/15/2016
A new survey finds that most western voters support presidential authority to protect public lands under national monument status, and oppose state takeover attempts of national public lands. In the bipartisan poll, versions of which are sponsored annually by the Colorado College State of the Rockies project, 80 percent of voters in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming said they support future presidents using the Antiquities Act to protect national monuments. Wilderness Society 1/11/2016
The $1.4 trillion lost in global mining stocks since 2011 exceeds the total market value of Apple Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. When you’ve spent a decade building new mines from the Andean mountains to the West African jungle, it’s bad news when a downturn in China, your biggest customer, shows no signs of stopping. Investors have been unforgiving and concerns that it will only get worse pushed the Bloomberg World Mining Index to an 11-year low. Bloomberg 1/7/2016
2015 was a big year for headlines and stories about water and, given the nearly 16-year drought, we can expect no less in 2016. That’s a good thing because it keeps the momentum going for necessary change. But words alone will not ensure a sustainable water supply for Arizona’s future. Here are five actions that leaders need to take in 2016 to help keep the state prosperous. Arizona Municipal Water Users Association 1/4/2016
Visitors to Southern Arizona’s wine country in the mood for something stronger than a rich cabernet are in luck, with one craft distillery in operation and another set to launch by spring. Arizona Daily Star 1/1/2016