/ Modified may 16, 2024 2:33 p.m.

Rep. Grijalva calls for extension of public scoping period for Hermosa Mine Project

He emphasizes importance of language inclusivity in a letter to the US Forest Service.

South32 Entrance The entrance of the South32 Hermosa mine site, a critical minerals project that looks to source manganese and zinc.
Katya Mendoza, AZPM News

Today, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-CD 7) submitted a letter to the US Forest Service requesting an extension of the public scoping phase for the Hermosa Mine Project.

The public scoping period began last Friday, when the Forest Service initiated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process– a standard procedure calling for subject matter experts to look at the environmental impact of the Hermosa Mine Project, located about six miles southeast of the town of Patagonia.

Standard NEPA practice calls for a 30-day scoping period followed by a 45-day draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) comment period that is scheduled for May 2025.

Addressed to the federal agency’s Chief Randy Moore, Grijalva says, “While FAST-41 sets a 45-day time limit on most public comment periods, the statute explicitly allows a lead agency to extend a comment period beyond 45 days for ‘good cause’.”

The Hermosa Mine Project is the first federally designated critical minerals project covered under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act Title 41 (FAST-41).

His letter builds on two other letters previously submitted to the Coronado National Forest by the Town and Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, asking for an additional 30-60 days for public review.

Grijalva reasserts that because the county is made up predominantly Hispanic, Spanish-speakers, the request for an extension of the public scoping period is warranted because most of the available informational tools are in English.

On Monday, May 20, the Coronado National Forest will hold the first public scoping meeting at Patagonia Union High School in Patagonia, and again on Tuesday, May 21, at the Hotel Americana in Nogales.

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