You can help now!

First step: Contact ADEQ regarding the Aquifer Protection Permit

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.

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
1110 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Telephone (602) 771-2203
or, toll free, at (800) 234-5677, then enter 771-2203
Click here to e-mail Steve Owens

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.
Telephone (602) 771-4663
Click here to e-mail Eric Wilson

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.

Contact or send a copy to Governor and legislators listed below.

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 are—and 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.

5)  When there is a violation and a fine is paid, that money should go back to the ADEQ to pay for their work and also to the community that has been violated, so that they have funds to pay for the damages. The ADEQ is under financed. For example, in Nov. 2001, they lost money for clerical help to put the Hazardous Material Incidents reports on the web. This is important information that the public and other government departments need to have access to.

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 the details.

7)  Create a committee that oversees all of the operations of the mining, so that each department provides summary information to one place. Now, everything is divided up into different categories, for example, toxic waste has three departments, and no one knows what's going on in the other departments. Reports are buried in reams of paper, making it a major chore to find any relevant information. We do not need more studies, we need someone doing something about the data we have!

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.

Who to Contact:

Write your state Senator, Tim Bee, (our rep from District 30) to express your concerns. He has been informed of the situation and is willing to help. However, there are one hundred and one issues for him to attend to so we need to let him know that we consider the cleaning up of the mine's mess a top priority.

Senator Timothy Bee
Senate Building
1700 W. Washington
Room 212
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Telephone: (602) 926-5683
Fax: (602) 417-3247
Click here to e-mail Senator Tim 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 of Arizona
Janet Napolitano
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Telephone: 602-542-4331
Fax 602-542-1381
Click here to send e-mail to Governor Napolitano

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.

Congressman Raul Grijalva
810 E. 22nd St. Ste. 102
Tucson, AZ  85713

Fax: 520/622-0198
Click here to send e-mail to Congressman Grijalva

Let our US Senators know what is going on at home. Green Valley is not the only place plagued by these problems from hard rock mining.

Senator Jon Kyl

730 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4521
Fax: (202) 224-2207

7315 North Oracle Road, Suite 220
Tucson, Arizona 85704
Phone: (520) 575-8633
Fax: (520) 797-3232

Click here to send e-mail to Senator Jon Kyl

Senator John McCain
730 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-2235

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