Grassroots anti-Florence Copper movement going strong

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I read with interest your article on the Florence Copper Project. The historical aspects were most interesting. While you noted the Town and Florence and developers are opposed to the project for a variety of reasons, you neglected to mention the strong grassroots opposition to the mining using the in-situ process.

While we are not in opposition to copper mining in areas far away from residential areas, this is not the case in this instance as the proposed wells are directly adjacent to existing drinking water wells. We’d like to note just one of our many concerns:

Curis (the Canadian mining company) states on their website:” Modern in-situ copper recovery (ISCR) practices and technologies have been shown to fully protect the integrity and quality of groundwater resources.”

The fact of the matter is that there is NOWHERE in this country or others that the in-situ process has been used to recover copper. In-situ has been used for uranium recovery – with disasterous results. If Curis or anyone else can show me where in-situ for copper recovery has been used and that it fully protects the groundwater, please let me know.

While Curis says their process is different than the process of fracking for natural gas, one thing they both have in common is both types of wells are protected with cement casings –as noted on Curis’ website. In the case of the cement casing for natural gas, the wells are failing at alarming rates.

Southwestern Energy’s PowerPoint presentation shows there are three ways that the cement casings fail: the cement forms incomplete bond to the casing allowing leakage; the casing itself starts to corrode over time due to exposure to chemicals and moisture; insufficient cement coverage even after a flowless cement job; the cement can be damaged by routine operation of the well causing the bond between the casing and cement to fail.

The National Journal Daily, 4/18/12, reports the “industry concedes well design can be improved.” The gas industry has been studying the ongoing problem for decades. In a report entitled “Well Integrity Failure Presentation,” drilling service company Archer reports that nearly 20 percent of all oil and gas wells are leaking worldwide.

A 2003 joint industry publication from Schlumberger, the world’s No. 1 fracking company, and oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips, cites astronomical failure rates of 60 percent over a 30-year span. Industry reports on the problem point to its persistence and the impossibility of completely preventing it.

Citizens in many states are reporting health problems once fracking began. As a results, law suits from Pensylvania to Montana are abounding . Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has tracked gas leaking from wells across the state.

They found 6.2 percent of new gas wells were leaking in 2010, 6.2 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent so far in 2012. When the cement fails, it opens a pathway for gas and other toxins involved in the drilling and fracking process to migrate into groundwater and to the surface.

What proof do we, the citizens of Florence, have that the cement casings used for the copper project will not fail? The failure can begin at day one; the contamination can begin at day one (long before ADEQ gets the test results); the contamination of water can begin whether there is one well or 400 wells. Once the water has been contaminated, there is no refreshing it.

Water is too precious to be entrusted to doing test wells to see if everything is safe. Water is our life. We cannot do without it. We simply cannot take the risk.

 /s/Marilyn and Joe Callahan

Florence, AZ

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