By Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star
Facing opposition from virtually everyone concerned about the issue, a state agency scrubbed plans to take over Clean Water Act permitting of the discharge and dumping of various materials into the state’s rivers and streams.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s recent decision, a major reversal from its past stance, means that the job of handing out these oft-controversial permits will remain in the federal Army Corps of Engineers’ hands.
It comes as litigation is pending against two approved Army Corps permits in Southern Arizona — one for the proposed Rosemont Mine near Tucson, another for the proposed 28,000-home Villages at Vigneto development in Benson.
The decision also comes more than two years after Republican Gov. Doug Ducey first raised the possibility of a state takeover in a June 2017 letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The next year, the Legislature authorized ADEQ to start work on formalizing a state takeover.