The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tierra Curry, (928) 522-3681

Two Arizona Plants Near Proposed Rosemont Copper Mine Petitioned for Endangered Species Act Protection


Today the Center for Biological Diversity filed an Endangered
Species Act listing
seeking protection for two rare Arizona plant species.
The plants occur in Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties. Bartram
stonecrop is known from only 12 locations and beardless chinch weed
from 13, though several populations of both species may already be
lost. Both rare plants are known to have been in need of federal
protection since the early 1980s; they occur near the footprint of the
proposed Rosemont Copper Mine and are among the many species that may be
threatened by habitat loss, groundwater depletion, and water and air
pollution from the mine.

"These rare plants are a unique part of Arizona's
natural heritage, but they are severely threatened and need Endangered
Species Act protection to survive," said Tierra Curry, a conservation
biologist at the Center.

Bartram stonecrop is a beautiful succulent that is
threatened by both habitat loss and collection due to its rarity.
Beardless chinch weed is a flower in the aster family, threatened by
widespread livestock grazing on the Coronado National Forest.
Browsing by cattle prevents the chinch weed from reproducing, which
only occurs after the plant has reached sufficient height.

"Endangered Species Act protection for both these plant
species is long overdue, and the Fish and Wildlife Service should act
quickly to make sure they survive," said Curry. "Because these plants
are known to occur near the proposed mile-wide open mine pit, surveys
should be conducted so that populations of these unique species are not
lost should this disastrous project move forward."

Last month the Center filed a petition seeking federal
protection for two rare talus snail species that occur in the footprint
of the proposed mine, which would also destroy habitat for the
federally listed lesser long-nosed bat, Chiricahua leopard frog and
jaguar. The Rosemont mine is widely opposed by local and state
government and area citizens and is expected to cause loss of
tourism-related revenue that would far exceed the financial benefit of
the mine.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252