The long-delayed draft environmental impact statement for the Rosemont Mine will be released in time for the first of six public meetings on Oct. 22, the U.S. Forest Service said Monday.
But the agency said it still can't predict the date the report will be released. It is under final review and then will be printed, said Heidi Schewel, a Forest Service spokeswoman in Tucson.
"While we would like the document to be available to those who await publication, we do not want to rush the process," Schewel said. "We want to provide a quality document for the public to review, as has been the case from the beginning of the process."
The proposed copper mine would put an open pit in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. The mine and its associated tailings and waste rock areas would lie on more than 4,400 acres of federal land, state and private land.
Release of the environmental report was originally set for April 2009 by the Forest Service. It was repeatedly delayed due to technical and scientific disputes and issues.
The service's preliminary draft environmental report on the mine, a precursor to this next document, said in June that the mine would cause a host of environmental problems. But it said the service can't legally say "no" to the mine due to the 1872 Mining Law. That law was passed to ensure mineral exploration in the West.
After the next document is released this month, there will be a 90-day public comment period. Then the service will prepare a final environmental impact statement and make a decision on whether the mining company, Rosemont Copper, can use federal land.
IF YOU GO
Two of the upcoming meetings on the Rosemont Mine's potential impacts will be in Tucson, two in Sahuarita, one in Benson and one in Elgin.
The public meeting schedule:
• Oct. 22, Desert Diamond Conference Center, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road in Sahuarita.
• Nov. 5, Elgin Elementary School in Elgin.
• Nov. 12, Palo Verde High School, 1302 S. Avenida Vega, Tucson.
• Nov. 19, Empire High School, 10701 E. Mary Ann Cleveland Way, Tucson.
• Dec. 7, Benson High School, 360 S. Patagonia St., Benson.
• Jan. 7, 2012, Desert Diamond Conference Center, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road, Sahuarita.
All but the Dec. 7 meeting will run from 1 to 5 p.m. The Dec. 7 meeting at Benson High School will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
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