A Tucson environmental group sued two federal agencies Monday in an effort to protect the habitat of jaguars in Southern Arizona from the proposed Rosemont Mine.
The Center for Biological Diversity asked a federal judge to rule the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated federal law in their analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.
The center alleges Fish and Wildlife violated the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing new regulations defining damage to habitat and by revising the critical habitat designation for the jaguar, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson.
The service did not take into account all relevant factors, nor did it provide a “rational connection” between the facts and the service’s 2016 opinion that the mine would not jeopardize jaguars, ocelots and other species, according to the lawsuit.
As a result, the June decision by the Forest Service that the mine would comply with environmental laws, which was based in part on the Fish and Wildlife Service opinion, is unlawful, the environmental group says. The mine would turn thousands of acres of the Coronado National Forest into a “wasteland,” Marc Fink, a senior attorney with the center, said in a news release Monday.