can help now!
The bottom line is Phelps Dodge is allowing sulfuric acid and other toxic chemicals from their mining operations to seep into our drinking water and we want it stopped!
Phone or write the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality head, Steve Owens. This is a position appointed by the Governor, so he should be sympathetic with our cause.
of Environmental Quality
Phone or write Eric
Wilson, the Manager of the Mining Unit, Water Quality Division, Water
Permits Section. He has been involved with trying to help Community Water,
so he knows the situation well. Let him know we want stringent standards
for the Permit. The final draft of the Aquifer Protection Permit is in
process. Now is the time to act.
What you can ask for:
1) Tell him that we insist that the quality of water for the Aquifer Protection Permit be set at the ambient level that existed in 1985. This is the level that existed when Duval/Cyprus/Phelps Dodge first started the Aquifer Protection Permit process in 1985. See documentation. The mining company should not be rewarded with lower standards of water quality just because they avoided the permitting process for nineteen years! See Aquifer Protection Permit. They say they were here first. But that is simply not true. Green Valley existed before Sierrita mine, but not before Twin Buttes.
2) We want some resolution of the damage already done. Ask for assistance in having Phelps Dodge keep their promise to remedy the present over-mineralization problem in the aquifer. Since the plume is spreading we don't know what wells will be next? See summary of promises by Phelps Dodge.
Second step: In addition to above, ask for government intervention to avoid problems and assure water quality and quantity in the future.
1) In regard to water quality: Enact legislation to adopt as law the Environmental Protection Agency secondary regulations for drinking and ground water as law. "EPA recommends secondary standards to water systems but does not require systems to comply. However, states may choose to adopt them as enforceable standards." By adopting these reasonable standards, the levels will not reach emergency levels before an attempt is made to do something. See EPA secondary standards.
2) In regard to water resources: Require the mining operations to switch to CAP water instead of taking water from the Santa Cruz Aquifer.
3) Have an objective party (US Geological Survey) survey the Aquifer to determine exactly where the tailing pond plumes areand also survey exactly where the highest levels of arsenic are found in the aquifer, which is data needed for our water companies. (Another issue apparently not related to mining in our area, but appears to be Mother Nature.)
4) Have mines
put water treatment plants in sites where monitoring wells show high levels
of TDS and Sulfate. We have reams of data from their own monitoring wells
showing the high levels.
6) Have the legislators
include the tailings dams in the safety inspections of the Arizona Department
of Water Resources, as was the practice before 1980. See
8) Ask for an
investigation as to why the water quality information for Phelps Dodge
Duval/Sierrita Mine was left out of the recent report (Upper Santa Curz
Basin Groundwater and Land Use Update,2002) by Pima Association of Governments.
Also the high TDS numbers for Community Water wells were omitted from
the water quality tables. Documentation of the
"oversight" will be on this
site within a couple of days.
Senator Timothy Bee
Compiling a list of Tuscon state representatives.
Write the Governor, Janet Napalitano. We need to let the Governor know of our concerns. We will not be heard if we don't speak up! I was able to speak at her "water listening" forum in Tucson, December 12, so she personally knows of the problem.
The Honorable Governor
Include your full name and regular mailing address, and the Governor promises she will send a reply to you by regular mail.
Let Congressman Raul
Grihalva know of your concerns. He has a environment-friendly record.
The pollution and water usage problem also exists in his territory because
of Pima/Mission mine.
Senator Jon Kyl
WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE
Senator John McCain