ADEQ holds public meeting for Smelter permit

MIAMI — A public meeting was held on Thursday Sept. 21 regarding Air Quality permit No. 66039 Freeport McMoRan Smelter. The meeting was held to provide an opportunity for any verbal or written comments to on the permit.

A briefing of the item was 53592, no meter change, 

Alberto M. Porto of Miami AZ spoke to ask questions 

“Why has Freeport been burning hazardous materials in their smelter with no public information for the residents of the community of Globe-Miami?”

Porto went on to say how heart wrenching it is for him to hear of the people in the community who have become ill with cancer. Everyone in the community suspects emission from the smelter, the reason is the hazardous materials being burned in it with no information from Freeport McMoRan. Porto mentioned the press release stating the tonnages of copper concentrate, but no mention of the hazardous material.

He wants to know why are you holding back this information form the public ?

Porto stated that today he chose not to be quiet anymore and to ask these questions of the EPA and Freeport McMoRan. When he first became aware of the materials being burned at the smelter in approximately 2004, he called a number that was provided and he asked them if they were aware of the burning and was told that all the permits were in order. Porto then asked what monitoring was being conducted at the smelter? The phone call was ended by the receiver with no answer to the question.

Porto finished with why do you persist to endanger the lives of the community burning these hazardous material? Do you have any invested interest here in the community? Are you from Globe Miami or are you from some place else?

Mary Anne Moreno, a resident of 51 years of the community, spoke in favor of the permit. She watched Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company clean up their smelter in response to the Clean Air Act in 1974-75, watched Phelps dodge improve the smelter  about 10 years ago. She also stated that she has seen Freeport McMoRan spend millions to upgrade it even further. She appreciates what Mr. Porto said but has her doubt about what is creating the problems he spoke of.

A copy of the 164 page draft permit was available for everyone who attended the meeting. It shows that there has been a total of 248 air quality inspections associated with the facility since 2012. 247 were file reviews and 7 were on site. Four air quality violations were identified and have all been closed.

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