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  • PDEQ approves settlement for mine's air quality violations

    Jul 30, 2019 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) has issued a Penalty Determination and Settlement Agreement to Freeport-McMoRan Sierrita, Inc. for multiple dust violations during the fall of 2018. PDEQ staff performed investigations; reviewed evidence, documents and compliance records; and met with Freeport-McMoRan employees and management over many months to gather and verify information regarding this case.
    As part of the Settlement Agreement, Freeport-McMoRan Sierrita, Inc. will pay a total of $230,000 which includes civil penalty of $30,000 and $200,000 for a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) that will benefit those who live in the area impacted by the dust events. The SEP will provide grading and paving for an approximately two-mile portion of the Camino del Sol walking path located in Green Valley adjacent to land that used to be the Canoa Hills Golf Course, which was recently acquired by Pima County. The civil penalty of $30,000 will go to Pima County to help cover staff time and the cost of the investigation.
    In response to the violations, Freeport-McMoRan Sierrita has implemented additional dust control measure on the tailings. Recent inspections of the tailings have found the control measures to be effective.
    Inhaled airborne dust, otherwise known as particulate matter, can cause serious health problems, especially in people with heart and lung disease. These small particles can get deep into the lungs and, if small enough, may even pass into the bloodstream.  Rules are in place to restrict emissions of pollutants to protect human health and the environment.
    Documents pertaining to the Freeport McMoRan Sierrita case are available on the PDEQ website.