TUCSON, Arizona – A local headline last week meant little to winter visitors here to see blazing wildflower color: “Corps Gives Rosemont Mine Final Permit for Construction.” Against a national backdrop, it was a calamitous sign of the times.
America’s watchdog reporters bark louder than ever when public trust is betrayed. Yet unless citizens react, ignoring partisan poodles and pit bulls who mislead them, newshounds might as well be coyotes howling futilely at the moon.
We all know the big picture. Too many people tune out “the media,” confused and overwhelmed. Donald Trump creates an alternate reality by default, burrowing into a White House from which he will be exceedingly hard to evict.
But a close look at the projected Rosemont copper mine shows how we are losing forever natural wealth and cultural heritage as a polarized nation fixates in closed loops on moronic Twitter babble and extraneous political circus.
Over the past decade, federal and county agencies did what government regulators do: Specialists weighed facts and made decisions. They denied permits over water supply, air quality, impact on wildlife and wetlands, among others.
Trump’s approach is closer to Louis XIV’s: L’Etat, c’est moi. His minions had denials changed to approvals despite years of reporting in Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star, at the national level, and in an investigative website – Rosemont Mine Truth – that provides data and documents for anyone who troubles to notice.
The “Corps” in that Star headline is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has repeatedly refused a Clean Water Act permit. But the decision was moved up the chain of command until it was approved.
As a result, Hudbay Minerals of Toronto is to dig a vast open-pit mine. Environmental scientists say the $1.9 billion project would cripple Tucson’s water supply and destroy priceless splendor on national forest land sacred to Indians.Read More