The proposed Rosemont Mine won a big legal victory Tuesday when an Arizona Court of Appeals panel overturned a lower court ruling blocking the mine’s air-quality permit.
The three-judge panel ruled that a Maricopa County Superior Court judge erroneously ruled in March 2015 that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s approval of the air permit was “arbitrary and capricious” and “an abuse of discretion.”
The appeals panel concluded that, contrary to arguments made by the mine’s opponents and the lower court judge, that “substantial evidence supported the department’s determination that the proposed Rosemont Mine will not exceed air quality standards.”
Barring a successful appeal, this ruling means that two hurdles remain for the proposed open-pit copper mine southeast of Tucson. It would be the third-largest copper mine in the U.S. and employ about 400 people.
But it’s been dogged and delayed for years over concerns — all denied by the mining company — that it could harm air and water quality, dry up neighboring wells and streams and damage critical habitat for the endangered jaguar and other imperiled species.
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