Former Interior Secretary and Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt ripped a major copper mining company over its effort to push the government to reduce the size of the Ironwood Forest National Monument near Tucson as it plans an expansion in the area.
The Arizona Daily Star reports Babbitt, who was Interior Secretary when then-President Bill Clinton designated the monument, says Asarco is trying to take advantage of a favorable political climate during the President Trump administration.
Babbitt accuses Asarco of framing its request to make a case for its elimination, though its formal request was to modify the monument's boundaries.
Asarco wrote the Interior Department seeking to have nearly 10 percent of the monument's federally owned land removed because it can't "make economic use" of the land it owns.