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Queen Creek Recreational Use Licence Update
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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Jun 19, 2012
Toofast

Dief wrote:
Just to be clear: When the process is put in place (via online or onsite at a kiosk) registration simply means you will follow the rules for climbing on private property - no fires, etc. Registration does not mean you support the mission of QCC or anything else.


Thanks Deif for the clarification.

My fear, though, is that RCM is not going to spin it that way. I think they will use this as a means to assert that they have fairly dealt with the needs of climbers.

This is why my name will never appear on that list.

+1 to Red's question and to Fred's request that the entire agreement be released for inspection by the people it is going to affect the most.


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Jun 20, 2012
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

so the Official Results are in ...

60.7 % No
17.9 % Yes
21.4 % Undecided *

Based on the need for more info...

I did get some feedback that some felt
that "Not enough details to make a decision yet"

Thanks for the feedback... I still know that there are more than 31 people involved in this...


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By Ian F.
From Phx
Jun 20, 2012

Add me to the not in favor list of this agreement. It may be true that RCM owns the land, but Red is correct.

This project should never move forward without a propoer NEPA survey completed before the land swap.

During the last hearing, it was brought up that there was not enought time to perform this survey, and that if the land exchange passed the survey would be performed. I think the timeline at that time was roughly 6 months. Well, I believe it has been well over 6 months since then. Has RCM performed this survey yet? Why?

To be honest, I know a lot of you have put effort into development of these areas, but is the climbing worth it to silence our voice. As far as I see it RCM will be using QCC's support for their own personal benefit and publicity.

I can see giving them support, and working with them, but that would only come second to the them assuring the following;

#1 they need to perform the NEPA.
#2. they need to gaurantee no subsidence
#3. They need to gaurantee they will exceed all efforts to make this an as environmentally friendly as possible.
#4. Access to Oak Flats should never be lost.

This is my input, take it for what it's worth.

If they can do this, then they can mine all they want.


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Jun 20, 2012
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

+1
ClimbPHX.com


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By Fred AmRhein
Jun 21, 2012

ClimbPHX.com wrote:
so the Official Results are in ... 60.7 % No 17.9 % Yes 21.4 % Undecided * Based on the need for more info... I did get some feedback that some felt that "Not enough details to make a decision yet" Thanks for the feedback... I still know that there are more than 31 people involved in this...


While the Access Fund hasn't spoken to the particulars on this latest version of a private deal, don't forget that as the National Climbing Advocacy group representing the interests of over 2 million climbers (per their website) that they oppose RCM's legislation.

So, maybe in terms of "to endorse or not to endorse," as the private agreement seems to do, one could add quite a few to whatever numbers you are coming up with.

You might want to also consider that the AF recently took on Curt Shannon as their Arizona rep for local issues. This is significant in terms of the climbing at Oak Flat since Curt was a key founder of the original Oak Flat advocacy group The Friends of Queen Creek. He then went on to participate with the original Community Based Queen Creek Coalition until they decided to endorse RCM's legislation in June of 2010. Furthermore from this group, Curt has continued in his advocacy for Oak Flat by creating the Concerned Climbers of Arizona with a diverse group from the local climbing community.

Personally, I wouldn't make too much of any type of numbers that one could count; though the results are consistent with those of past polls: The vast majority doesn't seem to support a strategy or tactic involving endorsement of the destruction of public climbing lands.

Suffice it to say that one Voice is often enough to make a difference.

Hope it helps,

Fred


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By Lindajft
From maricopa, AZ
Jun 23, 2012
The loaf

Ian F. wrote:
This is my input, take it for what it's worth.


Hey Ian,
I just wanted to thank you for speaking up on this issue. I appreciate you taking the time to us your voice.

climb on

Linda


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By Laurel
From Phoenix
Jun 25, 2012
Isolation Canyon

FYI,
What they are trying to do is complete a EA (Environmental Assessment) and than determine if they need to do an EIS(Environmental Impact Statement)
I know many of you will have your eyes rolling back after this post, but I'll be brief.

An EA is done to determine if there may be "significant impacts" to resources. An EA with very little potential resource impacts can take 12-18 months and can be done by a consultant that RC can hire to work with the FS on completing the EA. An EA where potentially significant/substantiation impacts are determined,(but can be mitigated...this one falls in that category), can take 2-3 years. However, typically all mining NEPA documents end up being EISs because the resource impacts are significant. EISs are done by the FS (not a consultant) and given the FS resources/people/money to expend, they don't move very fast and can take 2-5 years.
What is disturbing is that the Forest Service (FS) has not stood up and said what needs to be done...
RC wants an EA AFTER the land swap. It is BS that they want to try and persuade everyone that legally the land swap is exempt from NEPA but yet they turn around and declare that a EA will suffice. Most federal and NEPA practitioners know an EIS is the only way to get this done.(just look at the NEPA issues for the Rosemont Copper mine outside of Tucson.

Additionally, an EA is a assessment of impacts based on a number of research reports that study the particular resources (water, land use, geology, mineral, threatened endangered species, cultural/historical resources) and determine what the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of the mining will be on them. While surveys help to determine what the existing conditions are, a survey is only part of the report and documentation.

Also an EA/EIS is a "decision making tool" only a tool for the agency to decide if the impacts are significant enough to alter the proposed action (ie.,how they mine). It can't stop a action from going forward, but sometimes the proponent may abandoned the activity if it is too complex or controversial. The hope is that if the action has such significant impacts, that the proposed activity would have to be altered so as not to have significant impacts. Of course the word significant is subjective.


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By Fred AmRhein
Jun 25, 2012

Laurel wrote:
FYI, What they are trying to do is complete a EA (Environmental Assessment) and than determine if they need to do an EIS(Environmental Impact Statement) I know many of you will have your eyes rolling back after this post, but I'll be brief.


Thank you Laurel!

Based on my experience with various aspects of the legislation, it's as if RCM relies on the complexity of the NEPA process to disorient and make people want to go away.

Most people familiar with NEPA processes that I've spoken to (I'm no expert but I do try to talk to and understand what the experts read in the legislation), consider this legislation to be somewhat contrary to the spirit and even the letter of the law per the evolving environmental policies and protocols that have developed over the years with the advent of National Environmental Policy Act as passed by Congress and signed by Richard Nixon in 1969/1970.

Perhaps one of the most interesting assertions in the RCM exchange legislation is the insertion of the following in Section 2 (a) #2:

(2) the land exchange is, therefore, in the public interest.

This sort of verbiage is unprecedented; never before did it appear in RCM's tailored legislation in past versions.

Most experts I've spoken with suggest that this seemingly simple language is enough to avoid NEPA since it is the NEPA process that guarantees the public's participation and oversight so that "public interest" is more fully determined by the Executive Branch (USFS, BLM, etc.) By asserting in the legislation that the exchange is in the "public interest" the NEPA discussion might be moot; why discuss it or pursue impact studies to determine public interest if it's already been proclaimed by the House and Senate to be in the "public interest" sort of thing?

There's enough bad, boring, and eye-rolling language in this legislation to go around several times in my view.

Fred


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By Laurel
From Phoenix
Jun 26, 2012
Isolation Canyon

This is a statement that is usually used to justifying a FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact)in a EA or a ROD (Record of Decision) in a EIS. Either way, this type of raationalization typically comes after the completion of the NEPA document. The statement of completing something in the public interest is just a salve that RCM is using to make the legislators feel ok about circumventing the federal process, but it doesn't pass the muster of federal nexus. Any project having a federal nexus (federal money, land, agency involvement) triggers NEPA.
Everything they are doing has merit to be challenged in court, but they are lawyered up (and moneyed up) more than any other plaintiff could be, they can outlast and outspend any of our legal challenges. This is where the Access Fund could provide services.


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By Lindajft
From maricopa, AZ
Jun 26, 2012
The loaf

The real problem, as Fred indicated, is that NO NEPA analysis what-so-ever is required, prior to the Oak Flat area being transferred to Resolution Copper.  The language of the bill itself makes the public interest determination of whether or not the land exchange is in the public interest.  That determination is normally only made after a NEPA analysis is performed.  



Linda


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