Arizona environmental regulators are taking steps to take control of a crucial federal permitting process in what appears to be an attempt to circumvent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ongoing review of Hudbay Mineral’s Clean Water Act permit application for its proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine. Beyond Rosemont, state control of this program could have far-reaching implications to many other projects that could impact Arizona’s water resource.
In an email to stakeholders, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Quality Division is holding a special meeting on taking over issuing federal Clean Water Act permits at 1 p.m., Monday, Dec. 4, at the agency’s headquarters at 1110 W. Washington St., Phoenix in room 250. The public may also attend the meeting by calling 240-454-0879 with access code 282-719-829.
“The meeting will discuss state assumption of the Clean Water Act Section 404 dredge and fill program,” the ADEQ stated in an email.
The Army Corps is currently reviewing Hudbay’s 404 permit application. Hudbay needs the permit because its proposed mine would destroy federal desert waterways. The company must provide adequate mitigation from the damage it will cause in order for the permit to be legally issued.
The Corps’ Los Angeles district office recommended the permit be denied in July 2016. The Corps’ regional office is currently reviewing Hudbay’s permit application. The Corps has long expressed serious concerns about the mile-wide, half-mile deep mine that would dump waste rock and tailings on more than 2,500 acres of Coronado National Forest stating that Hudbay’s mitigation plan was inadequate. Continue reading