A hearing is underway this afternoon in federal court on a challenge to Kennecott’s plan to expand the Bingham Canyon copper mine. Representatives from Utah Moms for Clean Air, Wild Earth Guardians, the Sierra Club and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment all say Kennecott can’t move ahead with its expansion without approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. Doctor Brian Moench says that’s needed even though the Utah Division of Air Quality has already signed off on it.
“Kennecott is moving more earth than they’re allowed," Moench tells KUER. "The more earth they move, the more pollution they emit. So it’s a very important battle, if you will, for people who think the pollution in this valley needs to be reduced. If we’re going to make any progress in that regard, we cannot allow our biggest polluters to expand.”
Kennecott spokesperson Justin Jones says they’re asking the judge to dismiss the complaint.
“We’re confident in our legal position that we’ve complied with all the laws and regulations," Jones says. "But in the end, we are committed, we remain committed, will continue to be committed to Utah’s air quality.”
It could be several weeks or months before a ruling is issued in the case.