Augusta Resources continues its underhanded practices of trying to control the public hearings by pumping the unions to send members to support the Rosemont Mine! And Augusta posts other news on their website but apparently doesn't want shareholders to see the latest news.
Rosemont, rejected by Pima County, seeks air-quality permit from state
November 30, 2011
Rosemont Copper, facing a possible court battle to get an air-quality permit from Pima County, wants the state to handle the permit.
An attorney for the company wrote the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality this month, saying the company believes the state, not the county, has legal jurisdiction over the permit under a state air-quality plan.
A state takeover of the permit would remove a major source of leverage over the mine for one of Rosemont's biggest nemeses - Pima County government. The county's administrator and five supervisors have vocally opposed the proposed mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.
A company vice president, Kathy Arnold, denies that's Rosemont Copper's motive for seeking state intervention, and says the company is only trying to make sure the rules are followed.
But County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said he suspects Rosemont is "shopping" for a more favorable decision. The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality denied the air-quality permit in late September after Rosemont Copper filed suit to force the county to make a speedier decision.
Before seeking state intervention, Rosemont Copper said it would expand its lawsuit to challenge the county's denial. It also appealed the denial to the County Air Quality Hearing Board. The board is scheduled to decide on the appeal Thursday.
State DEQ officials don't know when they will decide whether to take over the permit, said Trevor Baggiore, the department's deputy air-quality division director. They are waiting for the outcome of Rosemont's appeal to the air board.
Mining company officials say they came upon the legal requirement for a state takeover while preparing for an earlier hearing on the appeal to the county air board. Company attorneys discovered a provision in the state's air-pollution control plan that requires the state to issue permits for a source emitting more than 75 tons per day of any uncontrolled air contaminant, Eric Hiser, a Rosemont Copper attorney, wrote in a letter to state DEQ.
Since Rosemont's mine would emit that much pollution if it weren't using controls, the state needs to take over permitting, Hiser wrote Eric Massey, Arizona DEQ's air-quality division director. ADEQ should assert its authority and consolidate permitting processes into one, Hiser wrote, to avoid the possibility of inconsistent permit decisions.
But ADEQ's Baggiore said that 75-ton figure "muddies the water" because it is not mentioned as a threshold in either the state or county air-quality regulations - only in the separate, state-approved air-quality plan for Pima County.
"We could delegate jurisdiction to Pima County or assert jurisdiction. The issues are such that we don't want Pima County and us to (both) issue permits," Baggiore said.
"We're not shopping," said Arnold, Rosemont Copper's vice president for environmental and regulatory affairs. "It's one of those things that should have been caught by the county. I don't think they would ignore this maliciously - their staff is very professional and easy to work with. I think everyone just looked at the document and nobody realized (this provision) was there."
She added that either way, the company expects to be regulated - "we're just making sure the process works."
But Huckelberry, while he has no evidence backing his concern about the company's motive, said Rosemont's behavior matches how other county-regulated companies have acted.
"If people think they can get a more lenient answer from another agency, they seek it," he said.
He said the company has been citing the state-approved air-quality plan for Pima County when it backs Rosemont's position, but then says that plan doesn't apply when it doesn't favor Rosemont's position.
"They want to ignore other sections of the state plan that don't side with their position," Huckelberry said.
Rosemont Copper officials have made similar comments about Pima County, saying that its DEQ director, Ursula Kramer, has "cherry-picked" certain sections of that air-quality plan to suit her denial of the permit.
Now, however, Kramer says she's not fighting Rosemont's efforts to get the permit transferred to the state. "The state air-quality permitting program is essentially similar to the county's," Kramer said.
Read more: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/rosemont-rejected-by-pima-county-seeks-air-quality-permit-from/article_54f85e38-d5f7-5e60-8cd9-93d6181c7ce0.html#ixzz1fgM8iYF1