A Maricopa County (AZ) Superior Court on Friday overturned a key air pollution permit for Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ proposed Rosemont copper mine at the request of an small activist group. Judge Crane McClennen ruled the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) acted “contrary to law” in its January 2013 decision to issue Rosemont the permit.
The judge found that “there was not substantial evidence to support the action of the ADEQ, and the action of the ADEQ was contrary to law, was arbitrary and capricious, and was an abuse of discretion. This Court further determines there is no just reason to delay entry of judgment and no further matters remain pending, and thus this judgment is entered pursuant to Rule 54(c).
While the opponents, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR), a southern Arizona coalition opposing the mine, are trying to protect their own water interests, they have used every reason possible to stop Rosemont, including air quality.
They claim that flawed data provided by Rosemont that was designed to understate the air pollution impact of the proposed $1.5 billion open pit copper mine.
Rosemont must secure state and federal permits, including the air pollution permit, before it can begin
operations at the mine site.
Friday’s ruling means ADEQ will have to re-evaluate the air permit in light of additional data and analysis presented by SSSR showing the mine would violate state air quality and health standards.
Rosemont Mine used computer modeling to show the mine would meet the standards.
ADEQ issued the permit nearly two years ago. SSSR challenged the state permit in an appeal to a state administrative law judge, then to Maricopa County Superior Court after the law judge upheld ADEQ.