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Forest Service Sued Over Arizona Copper Mine

Four plaintiffs argue the Forest Service approved an open pit copper mine that they say violates several local and federal laws.

The Forest Service has long contended that it is helpless to stop the mining operation in the Santa Ritas as long as the mine meets federal regulations.

The plaintiffs said the mine could affect Tucson’s groundwater basin with toxic mine tailings.

Sandy Bahr, of the Sierra Club, is one of the plaintiffs.

"This is clearly not in the public’s interest. There are so many issues with this proposed mine from violations of the clean water act to destruction of habit for endangered species," Bahr said.

The Forest Service did not return calls for comment. The agency approved the mine last June.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.