In a land of wild cats and scarce water, a battle over mining heats up
The federally-approved Rosemont copper mine could dry up a wet spot in Arizona rich with biodiversity, but faces precedent-setting lawsuits.
Tucson, ArizonaI’m perched on a ridge in the northern Santa Rita mountains, nearly 30 miles southeast of downtown Tucson. Rounded grassy hills speckled with mesquite rise to oak woodlands and rugged limestone peaks, and I can see for many miles in all directions.
The landscape is beautiful, but what’s most special doesn’t immediately announce itself. I am, for example, walking in the footsteps of the country's rarest wild cats. In the gulch just to my southwest, a jaguar roamed during his three-year stay in the range, and an ocelot was recently spotted bounding through this spot.
To the east, miles in the distance, lays a broad valley, and within it a streak of dark green—the willows and cottonwoods of Cienega Creek,