/ Modified apr 16, 2019 4:57 p.m.

Pima County Supervisors Back Lawsuit Over Rosemont Mine Approval

The suit claims approval of the mine project by the Army Corps of Engineers broke the law.

Pima County Board of Supervisors hero The Pima County Board of Supervisors at a March 20, 2018 meeting.
Zac Ziegler/AZPM

The Pima County Board of Supervisors has voted to back a lawsuit to overturn the Army Corps of Engineers' permit for the Rosemont Copper Mine.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson alleges the Corps violated the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act in approving the mine.

Republican Supervisor Ally Miller argued against supporting the lawsuit. She said the economy demands the mine be built.

"We can't keep picking winners and losers and expect to thrive," she said. "The people in our community need their jobs and we need the tax revenues to fix our crumbling infrastructure. "

Her fellow Republican, Steve Christy, insisted the lawsuit was a waste of time.

"In the final analysis, the Army Corps of Engineers along with 16 other federal agencies have determined that the Rosemont Copper Mine is worthy of being opened — pure and simple," he said.

But board Chairman Richard Elias, a Democrat, said the mine poses too great a risk, citing concerns about the integrity of the Corps' approval.

"We need to protect our water," he said. "We need to protect our air. We need to make sure we have a healthy place without the fear of having our children and our elders live short lives. The truth remains: wrong project, wrong place, wrong for the people of Southern Arizona "

The board voted 3-2 along party lines to support the lawsuit.

Watch below for background on the Rosemont Mine Project.

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