Pima County is advocating with federal officials to deny a key permit and other necessary approvals for construction of the proposed Rosemont Mine and is taking legal action to revoke the state’s issuance of a Clean Water Act (CWA) certification for the $1.9 billion project.
At the center of the county’s arguments is that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality violated state law in 2015 when it issued a CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Rosemont project. Pima County filed an appeal of ADEQ’s administrative decision to issue the certification on May 5 in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The 401 certification “receives significant weight” in the ongoing federal review of Rosemont’s potential impacts on rare desert wetlands and riparian areas, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.
The state’s 401 certification is part of the materials being reviewed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as it decides whether to issue Rosemont a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit that allows dredging and filling of wetlands.
The Corps has not made a final decision on whether to issue the 404 permit, although its Los Angeles district office recommended last July that Rosemont’s permit application be denied. The mine cannot be built without the 404 permit. Continue reading