Pima County officials seem to be doing everything they can to delay and deny Rosemont Copper from opening a mine south of Tucson. As Hugh Holub wrote, this “delay as a form of denial..scheme involves gumming up the decision-making process with demands for additional studies, appeals to governmental entities, lawsuits and whatever other tactic that can put off a final decision.” And the delay is costing taxpayers in the form of fewer jobs, lost economic opportunity, and lost tax revenue.
According to Rosemont, the mine will produce over 400 direct jobs and about 1,600 indirect jobs that will provide about $3 billion in increased personal income over the next 20 years. The mine will provide local governments with tax revenues of about $19 million per year and create $700 million in local economic stimulus in such things as services, real estate, retail purchases, utilities and manufacturing.
One step in mine approval is that of obtaining an air-quality permit from Pima County. According to the Arizona Daily Star, “under federal laws, the county should have made its permit decision in December 2010 – 30 days after the county declared the company’s permit application complete.” The county has yet to issue a permit and is searching for any lame excuse to not do so.
The result of that delay is that Rosemont is suing the County for specific action. Taxpayers must bear the cost of defending the suit due to County perfidiousness to those it is supposed to serve. All of this is especially ironic because the County declined its chance to buy the property before Rosemont Copper became involved.
The mining industry is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the country, so there are many safeguards on the environmental impact of the operation. Below is a list of some of the regulations mining companies must comply with:
Mining Law of 1872
Clean Air Act (CAA)
Clean Water Act (CWA)
Arizona Air Pollution Rules
Local Planning and Zoning Rules
Historic Preservation Act (SHPO)
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
Arizona Solid Waste Disposal Act
Mining Safety & Health Act (MSHA)
Arizona Mined Land Reclamation Act
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
Underground Storage Tank Laws (UST)
Wastewater Treatment Plant Registration
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
Arizona Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) Rules
Hazardous Material Transportation Act (HMTA)
Water Well Registration and Water Rights Permit
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rules
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
Non-Community, Non-Transient Water Systems Rules
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dredge and Fill Permit
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) Rules
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
Arizona Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF)
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)
Surface Management Regulations for Locatable Mineral Operations (43 CFR 3809)
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
Pima County is well-endowed with mineral resources (see: “Mineral Potential of Eastern Pima County, Arizona“). The anti-mining stance of Pima County officials does not bode well for our economic future. The green zealotry of these officials is not serving the people. And, a mine is a terrible thing to waste.
For another example of mis-guided Pima County policy, see: