SAFFORD, Ariz. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District held a public meeting June 28 to present results of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed development of the Lone Star copper ore body.
The project is located within the boundary of the existing Safford Mine Facility, approximately 8 miles north of Safford.
Mike Langley, a senior project manager in the District's Regulatory Division, discussed two project alternatives described in the draft EIS that would require authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The plan is to discharge dredged or fill materials into several washes associated with approximately 90 acres of waters of the United States.
"The waters of the U.S., at the Safford Mine Facility, are entirely ephemeral washes, dry desert washes," said Langley. "There are no wetlands on the property."
Langley also mentioned that the Environmental Protection Agency has been part of the EIS process.
"The EPA and the Corps, we share regulatory responsibilities for the Clean Water Act, but we have different roles," said Langley. "They have fully participated as a cooperating agency in the development of this draft EIS."
The CWA states that a permit is only needed if waters of the U.S. are going to be impacted and it requires mitigation to offset that damage.
"Freeport-McMoRan Safford Inc. have a mitigation plan for Lone Star," said Langley. "They have already committed to restoring and preserving riparian habitat at a point along the Gila River as compensation."
The public comment period will officially run until July 25. The Draft EIS is available here.