Coronado National Forest, Arizona; Alpha Calcit Marble Mine

January 27, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 17)] [Notices] [Page 3856-3858]

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

SUMMARY: The Forest Service accepted a Plan of Operations from Alpha Calcit Arizona, Limited, for mining and road construction in the Dragoon Mountain Range of the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona, as required by the 1872 Mining Law, as amended, and its implementing regulations at 36 CFR part 228. The proposed mine expansion is located within an inventoried roadless area.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis should be received by April 30, 2003. The draft environmental impact statement is expected by December 2003. The final environmental impact statement is expected in March 2004.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Jennifer Ruyle, Alpha Calcit Environmental Analysis Team Leader; Coronado National Forest; Federal Building, FB-42; 300 West Congress, Tucson, Arizona, 85701. Send electronic mail comments to jruyle@fs.fed.us,  Alpha Calcit Environmental Analysis Team Leader.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John McGee, Forest Supervisor, Coronado National Forest, USDA Forest Service or Jennifer Ruyle, Analysis Team Leader, Coronado National Forest, USDA Forest Service at the above address.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Alpha Calcit Arizona, Limited, is seeking approval for a Plan of Operations to expand an existing marble mine in the Dragoon Mountain Range of the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona. The proposed mine expansion is located in an inventoried roadless area as defined in the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Final Environmental Impact Statement, November 2000.

See page 14 of EIS Volume 2 - Maps of Inventoried Roadless Areas, Coronado National Forest Inventoried Roadless Areas. This Forest Roadless Area map is also found on the web at

http://roadless.fs.fed.us/states/az/coro.pdf.

The proposal includes the construction of approximately one-half mile of new road in the inventoried roadless area, and reconstruction (widening) of existing access roads thereby making it subject to regulations at 36 CFR 294.12 and Interim Directive Forest Service Manual (FSM) 1925 policy.

Paragraph (a) of the regulation prohibits new road construction or reconstruction in inventoried roadless areas while paragraph (b) provides exceptions to the prohibition.

This proposal conforms to the requirements of exception (b)(3) in the regulations because the proposed road construction is needed pursuant to outstanding rights provided by statute (1872 Mining Law).

This proposal also falls under similar exception language in FSM 1925.04 b (d).