The Florence Copper Project has reached another important milestone in the permitting process. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has issued a draft Temporary Individual Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) to Florence Copper Inc. for a Production Test Facility. This requires a public comment period that is limited in scope to the amended language of the Significant Amendment.
The History of Florence Copper’s APP:
Recall that ADEQ initially issued an APP to the project on September 28, 2012. After completing a public comment process, the permit was finalized, but later appealed by four entities: Southwest Value Partners, Johnson Utilities, Pulte Homes, and the Town of Florence. After ADEQ and Florence Copper defended the permit in an administrative hearing, the Water Quality Appeals Board remanded the permit to ADEQ to amend three technical areas of the permit. Over 95% of the APP was upheld by the Water Quality Appeals Board and is no longer subject to appeal.
Here Are the Facts about the Public Comment Period:
The public comment period on the amended language began on April 14, 2016 and ends on May 19, 2016
The public comment process includes a public hearing on May 19, 2016from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Florence High School gymnasium - comments can be delivered in person at this hearing
Comments can also be submitted in writing to ADEQ:
The public comment period is limited in scope to the amended language outlined in the ADEQ Fact Sheet; the entire permit will not be revisited as part of this public comment process
What Are the Amendments to the Permit?
The original permit was stringent and ensured the safety of residents when it was first issued by ADEQ. Now even more stringent regulations have been added:
Express electrical conductivity monitoring is required. This duplicates the comprehensive electrical conductivity monitoring requirements in the pending Underground Injection Control permit from the EPA
Two separate Pollution Management Areas are required rather than a single PMA. This ensures that the permit reflects the best available demonstrated control technology (BADCAT) of 2016
Several additional compliance wells will be monitored to provide the public with even more assurance that a stringent water monitoring process is in place at the site. This is also in accordance to the requirements of the pending UIC permit
You Can Participate in the Public Comment Process!
You’ve been very patient, and we thank you for standing strong during this long process. We are still on track and working hard toward construction of the Production Test Facility.
Milestones like these would not be possible were it not for tireless efforts and supportive actions from the community.
The public hearing is onMay 19th. This is also the end of the public comment period.
Remember, your comments will also be considered if you send them electronically by May 19th to FlorenceCopper@azdeq.gov. Call our offices to ask questions about the permit or the public comment process and how you can participate: (520) 374-3984. Our staff is always available to answer your questions, take you on a tour, or listen to your feedback.
Florence Copper always knew this would be a multi-year process, and ADEQ should be recognized for their commitment to environmental standards. We are hopeful that the project’s permits are finalized in the near future and the benefits of job creation and tax revenues will soon be here.