04:30 PM

Agency Rescinds Approval of Destructive Mining Project Based on Conservation Concerns


January 13, 2015

Contact: Courtney Sexton, csexton@defenders.org, 202-772-0253
               Wendy Russell, wendy@patagoniaalliance.org, 520-477-2308
Agency Rescinds Approval of Destructive Mining Project Based on Conservation Concerns
Plug Pulled on Proposed “Sunnyside” project in Arizona’s Coronado National Forest

Tucson, Ariz. — Today the U.S. Forest Service temporarily put the brakes on an environmentally hazardous mining project in southern Arizona’s Coronado National Forest that it previously approved in August. The Forest Service’s decision follows a similar move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had originally given the project the green light in August and then withdrew its approval in December. The agency decisions to withdraw their approvals of the Canadian mining company Regal Resources’ “Sunnyside Project” are based on the project’s potential violation of multiple environmental laws.

“The agencies knew from the beginning that this project could have a devastating impact on the local wildlife and habitat in this unique corner of the country,” said Rob Peters of Defenders of Wildlife. “The Coronado is home to an incredible diversity of imperiled species like the jaguar, ocelot and yellow-billed cuckoo, all which are already at risk from multiple projects in the region.”

“No one understood why they approved this project to begin with, but for the sake of Patagonia’s residents and wildlife, we are glad to see that they’ve reconsidered,” added Peters.

In October conservation groups Defenders of Wildlife and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance filed a lawsuit claiming the federal agencies’ approvals violated environmental laws and posed a threat to endangered species and the safety of drinking water for local residents.   

“Sunnyside could have been a disaster not only for our region’s unique wildlife, but also for the residents living directly downstream and the municipal watershed of the town of Patagonia,” said Wendy Russell of the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance. “Projects like Sunnyside use and abuse a tremendous amount of the local water supply and create long-term destruction of wildlife habitat. The people and wildlife of our national forests deserve more, and the agencies know that.”


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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

The Patagonia Area Resource Alliance is a citizen watchdog organization that monitors the activities of mining companies, as well as ensures government agencies’ due diligence, to make sure their actions have long-term, sustainable benefits to our public lands, our water, and the town of Patagonia. For more information visit www.patagoniaalliance.org and follow us on Twitter @PARAalliance.