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Save the Scenic Santa Ritas v. Darwin

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20047
Nos. LC2014-000262-001 DT, (Ariz. Super. Ct., 03/05/2015)

An Arizona court overturned the state's issuance of an air permit for a proposed open-pit copper mine. An environmental group argued that the state's approval of the permit was arbitrary and capricious because the mine has the potential to violate NAAQS. They also claimed that the mine's modeling report, on which the state agency relied in issuing the permit, was flawed. The court agreed. The group's model evaluation, which used conservative inputs, proved the permitted operations had the potential to violate NAAQS. In addition, the mine's use of a single meteorological monitor for a site with complex terrain significantly reduced the utility of the mine's data. And the mine's failure to assess the extent of the impact of migration from the Tucson airshed rendered the state's approval of the permit arbitrary and capricious. The court, therefore, remanded the matter to the state agency for further consideration using the proper criteria.