What can you do?

Updated December 16, 2019

Our community prevailed and won a unanimous decision from the Planning and Zoning Commission, but now the real fight begins and that is to win over the County District Supervisors.  A simple majority is all that is required to approve or disapprove Alliance Metals smelter and unfortunately we are APPALLINGLY certain that D.L. Wilson will vote to approve, since he is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for La Paz Economic Development Corporation and who brought the smelter to Wenden in the first place.  

Much to our disappointment, it appears that Deuce Minor has now stated that he supports the smelter. We hope this is incorrect, but we fear the worst.  If this is true these two “decision makers” clearly do not understand what it means to be leaders for creating a sustainable, vibrant  and resilient future for our county.

Duce Minor and D.L. Wilson are backward thinking politicians, not planners….obviously. 

It is amazing to me that neither Supervisor (Wilson and Minor) apparently took the time to read the documents that were provided to them! P & Z clearly took their positions seriously, read their documents and utilize the gift of foresight to come to the appropriate decision.

It is only with an extreme amount of arrogance and with a greater concern for strangers with questionable backgrounds than the residents of their county, Deuce and D.L. could possibly vote to support this project.  How could they sit through the Sept. 4 ADEQ meeting and the P&Z meeting and ignore the outrage of this community?  Perhaps they simply think they know more than the bulk of the community which shows their arrogance and their total lack of ethics for the office.

While the battle has changed, much of the strategy stays the same.  We need to continue to write letters/emails to the Supervisors expressing that we want them to NOT approve this smelter.  We have already tried reason and logic and that apparently has not worked so now we need to get more pointed.  Here are some of the subjects that these letters/emails can and should contain:

  1.  D.L. Wilsons Conflict of Interest.  We have it on third party comments that the county has already been presented with the conflict of interest claim and since there is no money trail proving that D.L. received any money on this that there was no conflict of interest.  Actually this is correct based on Arizona State Revised Statutes, but that is not all of the story.

If he chooses to vote on this at the January 6th meeting he will be in violation of the           Personnel Policy and Procedures of La Paz County, Section D-Standards of Conduct.

“In addition to conduct prohibited by statute, a violation of the standards of conduct listed in the subsections below, is cause for discipline or dismissal”.

  • Employees are to maintain high standards of honesty, integrity and impartiality for the proper and efficient conduct of County Business.
  • Official positions shall not be used for personal gain.
  • Employees shall avoid situations that create an appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest or that would tend to undermine the public trust.

Letters need to be sent to all three Supervisors as well as Tony Rogers and Ryan Dooley (contact information below) stating that we demand that D.L. recuse himself from this vote on Alliance Metals Application.  

Elected officials are not above the policies and procedures that they hold the rest of  the county employees to.

2.  The county’s Comprehensive Plan was developed with careful thought and with the help of experts and the input from hundreds of residents of the County.  Areas for Industrial Zones were clearly delineated so residents could be sure that their investments in their homes, their businesses and neighborhoods would remain secure.

 No changes in the Plan should be considered without the same careful thought and planning.

  • The plan strongly discourages “spot zoning” of which the application is a prime example.  In fact spot zoning is discouraged by virtually all professional planners.
  • Policy 1.60 from the plan states that it is important to “Support the county’s agricultural base by allowing only appropriate compatible land uses nearby.”  Heavy industrial, especially an aluminum smelter, is not compatible with agriculture.
  • Policy 4.11 states that it is important to “Protect the existing and continued agricultural uses of McMullen Valley and discourage development not adjacent to existing rural community or medium density developments.”  Locating a smelter on the proposed site is a clear violation of this policy.
  • The Comprehensive Plan was an agreement between the residents of the county and the county’s leaders.  It should not be changed without the same level of community involvement.  Allowing Alliance to move forward is a violation of that agreement and an affront to the majority of people who oppose it.  As of December 15th, our public opinion petition has 579 signatures while theirs has only 31.  The people have spoken, now we just need to get Mr. Minor and Mr. Wilson to listen.

Letters should be written to the Supervisors insisting that, since the Comprehensive plan was put together with input from communities throughout the county including Wenden, Salome and Harcuvar  and that no change to the plan should occur without the same input.  The residents of McMullen Valley have made their feelings known and the application must be rejected.

 If they vote to approve the smelter they are violating the public trust and we will do everything we can to oppose their reelection in November.  (All three Supervisors are up for reelection in November 2020 and they received their paperwork from the County with that intention in mind.)

3.  The County needs to provide protection to itself and the residents.  In 2007 the county lost the Yakima Compost case costing the tax payers $9.2 million for which we are all still paying.  Yakima had operated a sewage sludge drying facility next to the landfill on land the county received from BLM.  Here is why this could happen again.

  • The county did not insist that the property used by Yakima be zoned with a Conditional Use Permit.  A CUP provides the county with maximum amount of control over the operation of the company operating on a property.  Alliance Metals withdrew their CUP application and instead applied for an IDP, which does not protect the county.
  • Section 616.02 of the county’s Planning and Zoning regulations specifically state “The Community Development Director reserves the right to require a Conditional Use Permit for uses adjoining a residential zoning district that produce obnoxious emissions of odors, particulates, smoke, gases, organic vapors, noise, vibration, or otherwise unsafe processes, products, or storage or operations outside of normal business hours.  They plan on operating 24/7 according to their application to ADEQ.  They applied for an IDP, not a CUP.
  • The county did not insist that a performance bond be secured prior to the start of operations by Yakima.  Additionally the county did not seek to have a closure plan in place prior to operating the facility.  They have not demanded that Alliance Metals provide such bonds or plans.
  • Nearly 50% of Secondary Aluminum Smelters put into operation are known to be shut down or abandoned after two years.  It is prudent to hope for the best but plan for the worst.

We need to write letters to the Supervisors demanding that they protect the interests of the county and it’s residents by not issuing or considering a request for IDP zoning.  Furthermore, they need to insist that Alliance Metals provide proof of financing, provide a completion bond sufficient to ensure cleanup in the event that the facility is abandoned or closed, prior to beginning construction.  

If Alliance Metals are unable to do so, their application must be rejected.

4.  Their application is incomplete and inaccurate.

  • Section 616.05 under Uses Specifically Prohibited part A. “Anything not specified in 616.02, 616.03 and 616.04 above.”  An aluminum smelter is not listed in those sections and is thereby prohibited.
  • Section 616.09, part C. of the county’s Planning and Zoning regulations state “a six (6) foot high, sight obscuring wall or fence is required.”  No such fence currently exists and Alliance has not indicated in their application that they plan on building one nor has the county demanded that they build one.
  • Section 616.12, part A. states “Water and waste water treatment systems, including disposal, shall be provided according to the requirements of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the La Paz County Health Department.”  None have been provided in their application, specifically waste water treatment.  Nor has a storm water management plan been demanded.
  • Section 618, part 4. “Relationship to Surrounding Properties.  Surrounding land use and zoning should be described.  The impact of the proposal on surrounding properties in each direction should be discussed.  The impact on schools should also be explained.”  This is not included in their application other than vague inaccurate descriptions with no acknowledgement of the closeness of the town, the elementary school, the community center, golf course or campgrounds.
  • Section 618, part 9. “Traffic Impact Study.  A traffic impact study shall be required in accordance with La Paz County Public Works Standards and design manuals.”  No such study has been provided by Alliance.  

Letters written to the Supervisors should insist that the application be rejected because it is inadequate and inaccurate based on the above issues.

5.  Plan on attending the Supervisor meeting which has not yet been announced.  We need to do the same thing we did for the P&Z meeting.  It is imperative that we have a good turn out and have as many people as possible speak.  Again, we will most likely be limited to three minutes so plan accordingly.  

We must do everything possible to stop the smelter and protect our community!

I would suggest that when writing letters that you stick to one of the above topics that most reflects your opinion or to any other factual issues that you want to raise.  If you agree with more than one of the points above then write separate letters/emails.  This will achieve two goals.  It will increase the number of letters/emails that they receive and it will increase the probability that they will actually read each letter/email because it is not long.

The information below, while still valid, was in preparation for the P&Z meeting so I am going to leave it up.  At the bottom of the page you will find the contact information for everyone at the county that should be contacted.


You may not feel like you impact but you do…you just need to speak out and make your voice heard and we can help you. The final decision on this project will ultimately be left to elected officials of La Paz County and no decision has yet been made!  They want to know your opinion so here are the steps you can take:

~ Write emails and letters. Tell the Supervisors what you think about the aluminum recycling smelter. If you have already sent an email or letter, do it again. The more volume they receive the more impact it will have. When you write letters and emails, please make sure that you copy all of the people at the County that will have a part in the decision. You will find a list of contacts below and we have also included a sample letter if you need some help.


~Sign our petition. You will find a link below. The petition will be presented to the County.

~Participate in and complete our survey. This information will also be presented to the County.

Sign our petition by clicking on the link below:

Stop the Smelter


Write letters and emails to the County.  You can write your own or you can use our sample as a guide.

Below is a sample email that can be sent to our County Representatives:

To:  hirwin@lapazcountyaz.org

Dear Mrs. Irwin,

Cc: hirwin@lapazcountyaz.org,  dlwilson@lapazcountyaz.org,  jmccormick@lapazcounty.org, dminor@lapazcountyaz.org, rdrake@lapazcountyaz.org

I have recently become aware of a proposed aluminum recycling smelter in Wenden.  I am a resident of (Insert where you live) and concerned about this proposal.  I would like to state that I am opposed to this development.

Additionally, I oppose the rezoning of this property from agriculture to heavy industrial for these reasons:

  • Health and environmental risks posed to humans, domestic and native wild life and the ancient aquifer that supplies our drinking water.
  • Cessation of future sustainable economic growth in the most desirable area resulting in loss of future jobs and built infrastructure to supply those jobs.
  • Drop in property values and detriment to the visual appeal along the corridor between Wenden and Salome.
  • Contamination leading to a superfund site that could result it costly remediation.
  • Increased heavy equipment traffic, and toxic waste traffic on Centennial Road that support the community center, library, golf course and Centennial Park.



(Insert your name)

Important Contacts at La Paz County

Copy everyone on the list for the most impact!




  • Holly Irwin

         District 3 Supervisor/Vice-Chairman of the Board

        1108 Joshua Avenue

        Parker, AZ  85344



  • D.L. Wilson

         District 1 Supervisor

        1108 Joshua Avenue

        Parker, AZ  85344



  • Duce Minor

         District 2 Supervisor/Chairman of the Board

         1108 Joshua Avenue

         Parker, AZ  85344



  • Ron Drake

         County Administrator

         1108 Joshua Avenue

         Parker, AZ  85344



  • Tony Rogers

         County Attorney

         1320 Kofa Avenue

          Parker, AZ 85344



  • Ryan Dooley

         Attorney for the County

         1320 Kofa Avenue

         Parker, AZ 85344



  • Jeff McCormick

         Community Development Director

         1112 Joshua, Suite 202

         Parker, AZ  85344












Let La Paz County know how we feel!