In addition to the Forest Service public comment period which ends January 18th, 2012, the US Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comment on the proposed Rosemont Copper mine. The comment period for the ACE's application/permit ends January 5, 2012.
Public Notice/Application No. SPL-2008-00816-MB
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers
5205 E. Comanche Street
Tucson, AZ 85707
Here is some background information that may be helpful.
Purpose of application/permit
To discharge fill material into Barrel Canyon and associated tributaries including Wasp Canyon, McCleary Canyon, Trail Canyon, and other unnamed ephemeral washes for construction of the proposed Rosemont Copper Project open pit copper mine. The Rosemont Copper Project will, through the discharge of dredged/fill material, directly impact 38.6 acres, indirectly impact 2.5 acres, and temporarily impact 0.75 acre of potential waters of the United States. For a detailed description of the proposed project, please see "Proposed Activity for Which a Permit Is Required" and "Additional Project Information" in this Public Notice.
Interested parties are hereby notified that an application has been received for a Department of the Army permit for the activity described. Interested parties are invited to provide their views on the proposed work, which will become a part of the record and will be considered in the decision. This permit application will be issued or denied under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344).
The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors that may be relevant to the proposal will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof. Factors that will be considered include conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food production and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. In addition, the evaluation of the activity will include application of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines (40 CFR 230) as required by Section 404 (b)(1) of the Clean Water Act.
The Corps of Engineers (Corps) is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Native American tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of necessary documentation pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
Preliminary Review of Selected Factors
EIS Determination - A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Rosemont Copper Project has been prepared by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Coronado National Forest. A Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS was published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register on October 21, 2011 (76 FR 65509). The USFS is accepting comments on the Draft EIS through January 18, 2012. The Corps and the Bureau of Land Management are Federal cooperating agencies for this Draft EIS. The information provided in the Draft EIS will provide a basis for the Corps to make a decision regarding the Section 404 permit for the proposed Rosemont Copper Project. The draft EIS is available online at http://www.rosemonteis.us.
Water Quality - The applicant is required to obtain water quality certification, under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Section 401 requires that any applicant for an individual Section 404 permit provide proof of water quality certification to the Corps.
Cultural Resources - Formal consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act has been initiated by the USFS on behalf of the Corps and the BLM with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the appropriate Native American Tribes regarding the proposed project's effect on cultural resources. The USFS will ensure that all requirements of the Memorandum of Agreement and the Historic Properties Treatment Plan will be completed.
Endangered Species -Formal consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act will be conducted by the USFS on behalf of the Corps and the BLM with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The FWS will issue a biological opinion regarding the project's effects to federally listed species and designated critical habitat.
Public Hearing - Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for public hearing shall state with particularity the reasons for holding a public hearing. Public meetings are currently being held for the Draft EIS, described above. A schedule for future public meetings for the Draft EIS can be found at http://www.rosemonteis.us/public-meetings.