Animal Law Updates That Improved the World for Animals this Month

Animal Law Updates That Improved the World for Animals this Month

Each month, One Green Planet tracks major legal developments that are improving (or, in some cases, threatening) the lives and well-being of animals. Because the law so poorly under-protects animals, these updates trace a range of legal approaches to protecting animal rights and welfare. While some legal efforts pertain directly to animals by addressing, for example, animal cruelty or endangered species protections, some of the most effective legal advocacy is less direct.

This month, we are highlighting a battle over mining in the Coronado National Forest—a case that will impact wildlife over thousands of acres of national land. After, we provide a quick update on Happy the elephant and his petition for release from the Bronx Zoo.

1. The Fight Against the Rosemont Copper Mine

Since 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) has been fighting to stop the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine—a massive open-pit mine outside Tucson, Arizona. According to CBD, the mine would be “a mile wide, a mile-and-a-half long and more than 3,000 feet deep.”

But the mine itself is only a sliver of the problem for wildlife. Mining produces “waste rock,” which is a rock with non-valuable minerals. And over 20-25 years, Rosemont plans to produce between 1–2 billion tons of waste rock—and to dump that waste on 2,447 acres of National Forest land. The plan would permanently destroy thousands of acres of habitat, and all the diverse wildlife that lives there.

Efforts to fight the Rosemont mine include challenges under the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. But the threshold challenge, which CBD recently won in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, concerned the rights that Rosemont has to dump waste in the first place, under the Mining Law and related regulations.

Lead Image Source : Donovan van Staden/Shutterstock.

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