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mining operations; long-term storage credits

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: SB1417
Sponsor: Griffin, Stevens: Jones, et al
Legislative Session: 2012 Legislative Session

SB1417 mining operations; long-term storage credits is special legislation for Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world's largest publicly traded copper company. It allows them to accumulate long-term storage credits for Central Arizona Project water, while still pumping groundwater in the Active Management Area.



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More information

To read the bill, click on SB1417.


The Groundwater Management Code is supposed to control groundwater depletion, but has numerous holes and exemptions in it, including for the mining industry. Just last year, Resolution Copper Mining got a special exemption relative to the code. 

Arizona law also allows for the underground storage of water, such as Central Arizona Project water. If the water is stored for more than a year, then the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources can issue long-term storage credits. Currently, long-term storage credits can only be earned for the amount that exceeds the amount of groundwater that has been pumped by the water storage permittee during that year, provided the stored water could not have reasonably been put to direct use.

This bill modifies the definition of “water that cannot reasonably be used directly” and says the Director has to ignore the amount of groundwater pumped during the year if is for mining and the mining company was mining in the Active Management Area prior to January 1, 2011.

In other words, this will allow Freeport-McMoRan to pump groundwater like crazy, while storing CAP water, and accumulate credits, so it is a double hit to our water resources.  We strongly oppose this legislation.


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