Description: Challenge to Section 404 permit for copper mine site.
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tohono O’odham Nation v. Helmlinger
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/10/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Tribes Challenged Section 404 Permit for Copper Mine in Arizona, Cited Cumulative Effects of Climate Change in Alleging Violations of State Water Quality Standards. Three Indian tribes filed a lawsuit challenging a Section 404 permit granted to a mining company for prefilling all washes on a copper mine site with native material. The complaint alleged that the South Pacific Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had “artificially constrained” the scope of its analysis under the Clean Water Act and “circumvented” previous adverse findings of EPA, the Los Angeles District of the Corps, local agencies, the tribes, and the public by reasoning that the filling of the washes would allow the mining company to construct a mine pit and dump waste rock without additional Clean Water Act analysis. The tribes asserted claims under the Clean Water Act, NEPA, and the Administrative Procedure Act, including claims that the mine would violate state water quality standards “due to increased pollution, loss of assimilative capacity, and the cumulative effects of climate change, among other things.” The case has been consolidated with an earlier-filed case (Save the Scenic Santa Ritas v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 4:19-cv-00177) in which environmental and conservation groups assert similar claims.