The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has not issued a temporary aquifer protection permit (APP) to Taseko Mines for its proposed Florence Copper production test facility (PTF). Taseko Mines’ press release regarding the issuance of a draft APP by ADEQ might leave readers with the false impression that ADEQ has issued an APP that would allow Taseko’s Florence copper project to commence operations at its proposed PTF. That is not the case. ADEQ will make its decision to issue, modify or deny a temporary APP only after formally responding to all public comments regarding the draft permit referenced in Taseko’s press release.
Public comments on the draft temporary APP are due May 19, 2016. There is no deadline for ADEQ to respond to those comments and therefore no timeline for when ADEQ’s decision regarding the issuance, modification or denial of the temporary APP will be forthcoming. The Town of Florence opposes issuance of the temporary APP as drafted since the Town does not believe the draft temporary APP adequately addresses the deficiencies in the last draft permit that was remanded by the Water Quality Appeals Board upon the recommendation of an Administrative Law Judge after a 34 day hearing that the APP be rescinded due to the many flaws in that draft APP.