This Could be the Most Important Meeting to Stop the Smelter

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County Supervisor Public Hearing and Meeting

Discussion and possible action regarding Alliance Metals application.

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Monday March 16th at 3:00 pm at the Centennial Community Center in Wenden could be the most important day in the fight to prevent the smelter from being built in McMullen Valley.  I say could because the Supervisors have essentially four courses of action available to them.

  1. Reject the application and deny their request (Thereby killing the project).
  2. Approve the application.
  3. Push the application back to P&Z for reconsideration (which would delay a decision).
  4. Table the application (asking for more information which would delay a decision).

Obviously, we are hoping for number one.  If the project is approved it would kick in our fail safe plan that I will go into later if the situation dictates.  Both number three and number four would be a set back since we would have to continue this fight, which has now been going on for a year this April.

In any event we, need to pull out all of the stops just like we did for the P&Z meeting.

P&Z Meeting
Image provided by parkerliveonline.com -John Wright

We need to make our voices heard at the County so it will be difficult for any of the Supervisors to vote in favor of this project.  The more voices that speak out and the more people who attend this meeting the better the chances that this project will be voted down.

We’ve done a great job so far with people asking good tough questions (putting officials and company representatives on the spot). We are making our opinions heard and pushing back hard against a project that would potentially change our lifestyle for the worse …thus damage our community.  Now, in what we hope is the last stretch, we need to keep up the pressure.

Here are the things that we can do to help insure the right decision is made for our community:

  • Tell everyone you know about this meeting.  Everyone is not on social media or reads the Parker Pioneer, so it is up to each of us to tell everyone we know and encourage them to attend this meeting.
  • Write as many emails and letters as possible to all three Supervisors to once again make your opinion heard.  I know we have done this already, but we need to do it again.  While I have expressed how I think Duce may vote, I now think that DL may be persuaded to vote against this project.  Make sure that they know the changes offered by Alliance are not enough.
  • Be prepared to speak at the public hearing. (If you need help beyond the talking points below, I will be glad to assist)  Comments will probably be limited to three minutes, but if enough people speak out that will be ample time.

Here are some talking points that you can use.  This is not a complete list as many of you have your own valid concerns and have been very good at voicing them.  These are just suggestions.  Despite all of the supposed stipulations that Alliance Metals says they are prepared to make, the fact remains that this smelter is a smelter and as such the process and the location have significant issues:

  1. This facility will pollute if built.  Up to 35 tons of pollutants per year according to ADEQ.  This is pollution that we currently do not have in the Valley.
  2. To support this smelter, a huge amount of truck traffic will be required.  This traffic will be transporting raw material in, raw material out, salt cake out, service trucks in and out, etc.  Now that they have chosen to only use highway 60 they will be traveling through the middle of Wenden, by our school and water department and across a student cross walk that is used two times a day.  They will also be traveling through the middle of Salome.  On average the truck traffic is estimated to be at least one semi load every 12 minutes during designated hours.
  3. They will still produce over 200,000 pounds of salt cake per year when operating at capacity.  This material has to be handled properly as it is hazardous and presents a potential contamination issue with our aquifer.
  4. The location is still on the edge of a flood plain, next to a large and active wash and inside the Wenden subsidence bowl.
  5. This facility is proposed to be a 24/7 operation.  Aluminum crushers for smelters make a tremendous amount of noise and can be heard for up to a mile away.  That encompasses the entire town of Wenden.
  6. In the end, no matter how you slice it, this is a heavy industrial facility which is simply not appropriate for McMullen Valley and never has been.

Without going into a huge amount of detail this decision may come down to a legal one.  Alliance Metals has applied for what is called an IPD rezoning (Industrial Planned Development).  They have also applied for an amendment to the County’s Comprehensive Plan to allow an aluminum smelter.  They have offered to make stipulations to their operation as part of the request (although as of this writing they have not submitted any to the County).

Here’s the catch.  The County can attach all kinds of stipulations to a rezoning request that they choose, however; after the rezoning is granted, they have no legal recourse to enforce those stipulations rendering them useless.  In order for the County to be able to enforce the stipulations and hold the company accountable, they must issue a CUP (Conditional Use Permit).  That is the only legal method for the County to enforce any stipulations that are agreed to.

Alliance is not applying for a CUP.  Some of you may remember that they applied some months ago for a CUP but quickly withdrew it once they found out it would require a unanimous decision by the Supervisors.  They realized that they would not get that vote and then decided to go in a different direction.  If the County decides that the company must apply for a CUP in order for them to consider the application then the project is dead because they will not get a unanimous decision.  At least one of our Supervisors understands the nature of a representative government and we believe will vote to support the community.

If the Supervisors vote to approve without a CUP, then they are not only ignoring legal councils advice they are not fulfilling their legal responsibility to the people of La Paz County and specifically to McMullen Valley.  That would be a travesty and probably actionable from a legal standpoint.

So, get the word out, be prepared, write emails and letters.  Below is the contact information at the County:

Mrs. Holly Irwin

District 3 Supervisor/Chairman of the Board

1108 Joshua Avenue

Parker, AZ 85344

928-669-6115

hirwin@lapazcountyaz.org

Mr. D.L. Wilson

District 1 Supervisor

1108 Joshua Avenue

Parker, AZ  85344

928-669-6115

dlwilson@lapazcountyaz.org

Mr. Duce Minor

District 2 Supervisor

1108 Joshua Avenue

928-669-6115

dminor@lapazcountyaz.org

Mr. Ron Drake

County Administrator

1108 Joshua Avenue

Parker, AZ  85344

928-669-6115

rdrake@lapazcountyaz.org

 

Public Hearing

One Comment Add yours

  1. Timo Apedaile says:

    At this point I think the smelter is justified just like the bombing in Hiroshima.

    Like

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