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Arizona-New Mexico Business Coalition Sues to Challenge EPA's Rule on WOTUS

September 2, 2015







 Contact Information: Kelly Shaw Norton,
 Arizona Mining Association,



Arizona and New Mexico Business Coalition Sues
To Challenge EPA Rule Defining Waters of the United States


PHOENIX, AZ (September 2, 2015) -- The Arizona Mining Association (AMA), Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Arizona Rock Products Association, New Mexico Mining Association, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau filed a lawsuit yesterday, Sept. 1, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the U.S. EPA’s new rule dramatically expanding the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.


Kelly Shaw Norton, President of the Arizona Mining Association, explained, “EPA’s new rule rests on the implausible idea that vast expanses of bone-dry, southwestern desert can be subject to intrusive federal regulation as ‘waters of the United States.’ The focus of this lawsuit will be the new rule’s definition of ‘tributary,’ which expands ‘waters’ jurisdiction based on the presence of certain topographical features that are ubiquitous in the arid southwest, even in areas where it has been decades or centuries since any water has actually flowed on the ground. What is worse, under the new rule, an agency official in Washington, DC, can deem an expanse of desert to be a ‘water of the United States’ even if relevant topographical features do not actually exist.”


Norton organized this broad coalition of affected southwest business groups to ensure that issues important to the arid west are front and center in efforts to rein in EPA’s dramatic overreach, and to protect southwestern businesses and landowners from unreasonable new regulatory burdens.


The Arizona Mining Association (AMA) is a non-profit corporation comprised of entities engaged in mining and mineral processing in Arizona.  In 2013, AMA member companies produced approximately 65% of the nation's newly-mined copper, along with significant amounts of associated valuable co-products (e.g., gold, silver, selenium, tellurium and molybdenum).   In 2013, the Arizona copper industry employed approximately 11,500 people and had an estimated direct and indirect impact on the Arizona economy of nearly $5 billion.  AMA members also are engaged in the mining of coal, uranium and other materials, and make significant contributions to the Arizona economy as a result of those activities. The AMA is the unified voice of responsible, sustainable and safe mining in Arizona. We support educational programs that demonstrate the importance and benefits of mining to the economy and the quality of life. Our members benefit from productive relationships and alliances with government, business associations and natural resource industry groups. Through our advocacy, we help Arizona continue to be a premier location for mining investment in the U.S.


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