Get the Facts

The Council has just authorized the publication of deliberately misleading information about Florence Copper on the Town’s website.

The people of Florence deserve better. They deserve the truth. We created this web page to include the items the Council conveniently left out. Please click the links to view the court rulings for yourself.

If we can assist you in any way, please call 520-316-3713 anytime.

What Judge Brodman Said on "Zoning"

“To summarize the dispute: in 1996 and 2003 the Town supported mining on the Property. By 2010-11, it did not.”

“[T]he Court notes that even the Town’s expert, Mr. Gammage, agreed that the 2003 Development Agreement preserves the Owner’s right to mine.”

“Undisputed evidence established that the Town never communicated to Merrill a belief that the change in zoning (in 2007) affected the vested mining rights. In fact, persuasive evidence showed that the Town not only failed to discuss mining, but that the Town affirmatively didn’t raise the issue for fear that Merrill would ‘figure out he was giving up his mining rights.’” (Quoting testimony from former Mayer Rankin.)

“The preponderance of the evidence firmly demonstrates that Merrill never waived or abandoned mining rights. Since undisputed evidence indicates that FCI was the successor to Merrill, FCI continues to have a vested right to mine that cannot be altered by the Town’s unilateral actions.”

"THE COURT FURTHER FINDS that Merrill's and the Town's actions in 2007 did not eliminate or abandon in-situ mining rights of the Owner established by the 2003 Development Agreement. The Town is not entitled to an order finding the 2007 rezoning effective and enforceable by the Town to prevent in-situ mining within the mine overlay area."

(Maricopa County Superior Ct. Judge Brodman’s Jan. 2, 2019 ruling that Florence Copper has the right to conduct in-situ mining on its property.)

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What the Water Quality Appeals Board Said When Approving Florence Copper's TAPP

The Water Quality Appeals Board, a technical board specifically tasked with reviewing permits issued by ADEQ, in upholding the Temporary Aquifer Protection Permit (TAPP) issued to Florence Copper by ADEQ, concluded that the Town and Southwest Value Partners had failed to prove that the terms of the APP were “arbitrary, unreasonable, unlawful, or based upon a technical judgment that was clearly invalid.”

(WQAB Order issued May 17, 2017 approving the Temporary Aquifer Protection Permit issued by ADEQ.)

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What Judge Starr Said When Upholding Florence Copper's TAPP

Judge Starr, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge cited testimony from ADEQ’s lead permit writer, “the project is ‘probably the most monitored 20 acres” [ADEQ] has ever seen in the APP program.”

In addition, Judge Starr walked through every claim brought by the Appellants, Town and SWVP, challenging the APP and found that in all cases there was no merit to the Appellants’ claims.

"Based on the foregoing, this Court concludes there was substantial evidence to support the Board’s Decision, and the Decision was not contrary to law, was not arbitrary or capricious, and was not an abuse of discretion."

(Hon. Judge Starr ruling for upholding Florence Copper’s Temporary Aquifer Protection Permit on December 18, 2018.)

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What the Arizona Court of Appeals Said When Upholding Florence Copper's TAPP

“Because Appellants have failed to show the [Water Quality Appeals] Board’s decision was arbitrary, capricious or otherwise in error, it is affirmed.”

“First, contrary to Appellant’s argument here, nowhere does the 2014 Decision state a PMA 200 feet from the PTF well field was ‘too far.’And nowhere, in nearly 150 pages of the recommended decision leading to the 2014 Decision, did the Administrative Law Judge make such a finding.”

“Appellants’ arguments, however, ignore several critical issues.”

"On this record, Appellants have not shown the 2017 Decision was contrary to law, not supported by substantial evidence, arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion ….To the contrary, the record shows the decision was supported by substantial evidence.”

(Arizona Court of Appeals ruling on May 7, 2020 denying Town and SWVP’s appeal of Judge Starr’s ruling upholding Florence Copper’s Temporary APP.)

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What the Superior Court and Court of Appeals Said When Dismissing the Challenge of the TAPP Program

IT IS ORDERED granting [Florence Copper's] Motion to Dismiss.

(Maricopa County Superior Court dismissing the challenge of the Temporary Aquifer Protection Program, April 18, 2013.)

"The only issue properly before the trial court was whether ADEQ exceeded its statutory authority in promulgating [the TAPP Program]. … The trial court’s consideration of the complaint, the law, and the statute itself was sufficient context to determine that ADEQ acted within its statutory grant of authority when [creating the TAPP program]. No additional factual record was required for the court to make this determination.

For the reasons set forth above, we affirm."

(Arizona Court of Appeals Ruling Upholding the trial court's dismissal of the challenge of the TAPP Program, Dec. 30, 2014)

Click below for the full Superior Court and Court of Appeals ruling

What the Environmental Appeals Board Ordered Regarding Florence Copper's UIC Permit

Notably, the Permit contains a number of terms and conditions designed to ensure that injected fluids do not migrate (i.e. that hydraulic control is maintained) beyond the Production Test Facility’s well field …or into the Lower Basin Fill Unit.”

(Environmental Appeals Board Order dated September 22, 2017 following review of Underground Injection Control Permit issued by EPA.)

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What Judge Anderson Said When Dismissing the Town's Eminent Domain Claim

"[Florence Copper] argues that the eminent domain claim should be dismissed because it is not ripe. . . . The Court agrees."

(Honorable Judge Anderson when dismissing the Towns claim to rights of eminent domain, July 6, 2015.)

Click below for the full ruling