Rosemont Copper has criticized a lawsuit from the opposition group Save the Scenic Santa Ritas that challenged a state air quality permit for the proposed copper mine.
The lawsuit, filed last Wednesday, says the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality improperly failed to consider the group’s concerns that the copper mine’s emissions will violate federal air-quality standards. The suit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court.
In a statement, Rosemont Copper vice president Kathy Arnold said this suit is another request for legal review filed by a group that has appealed and lost on other issues.
"We are confident that this will be rejected after review," said Arnold, the company's vice president of environmental and regulatory affairs.
"The ADEQ air permit that was issued . . . has held up through the administrative appeal . . . These ongoing actions are anticipated as it is a common opposition tactic. They seek to delay the process, which then takes needed funds away from ADEQ to perform its air quality protection duties."
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas unsuccessfully appealed to administrative law judges the state ADEQ decisions approving air quality and aquifer protection permits. It has now filed suit on both of them.
This is how the Star reported the lawsuit last week:
When ADEQ approved the air permit in early 2013, it said that its review of Rosemont Copper’s computerized air-pollution forecasts found that the mine’s emissions wouldn’t violate air quality standards for carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulfur dioxide or for fine and large particles. It said that “all technical issues” the agency raised had been adequately addressed by the mining company, and that ADEQ had verified Rosemont’s computer model analysis and emissions calculations.
The lawsuit contends that ADEQ failed to consider alleged flaws in Rosemont’s computer model analysis that the Scenic Santa Ritas group had pointed out.
“If they ran the models the way they should have, they would have found Rosemont in violation and wouldn’t have issued the permit,” said David Steele, a Save the Scenic Santa Ritas spokesman.