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PRESS RELEASE: Freeport-McMoRan Corp. and Freeport-McMoRan Morenci Inc. Will Pay $6.8 Million in Damages for Injuries to Natural Resources from the Morenci Copper Mine in Arizona

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Freeport-McMoRan Corp. and Freeport-McMoRan Morenci Inc. Will Pay $6.8 Million in Damages for Injuries to Natural Resources from the Morenci Copper Mine in Arizona

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior announced today that Freeport-McMoRan Corporation and Freeport-McMoRan Morenci Inc. (Freeport-McMoRan) have agreed to pay $6.8 million to settle federal and state natural resource damages claims related to the Morenci copper mine in southeastern Arizona.

The complaint, which was filed jointly by the United States and the state of Arizona on April 24, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, alleges that Freeport-McMoRan is civilly liable for injuries to natural resources that resulted from hazardous substance releases at and from Freeport-McMoRan’s Morenci Mine site. The complaint further alleges that surface waters, terrestrial habitat and wildlife, and migratory birds have been injured, destroyed or lost as a result of releases of hazardous substances at and from the mine site. The hazardous substances that have been released include sulfuric acid and metals. The cause of action for natural resource damages is based on Section 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA). Historically, the Morenci Mine was owned and operated by Phelps Dodge Corporation until that company was acquired by Freeport-McMoRan entities in 2007.

Under the consent decree lodged today in federal court, Freeport-McMoRan will pay $6.8 million to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Fund. This money will be used by the federal and state natural resources trustees to plan and implement projects designed to restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of wildlife and wildlife habitat in the vicinity of the impacted area. Of this amount, $98,000 is designated for payment to the Department of the Interior for its remaining unpaid past damage assessment costs. Freeport-McMoran has already repaid over $842,000 in injury assessment costs.

“Today’s settlement will help compensate the people of Arizona for the loss of habitat and wildlife, and the injuries to the overall quality of the local environment caused by open-pit mining at the Morenci Mine,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This agreement also fosters federal and state efforts to restore and protect important wildlife habitat in injured areas.”

“Mining has long been, and continues to be, an important part of Arizona’s history and economy,” said Ann Birmingham Scheel, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. “Likewise, protecting Arizona’s environment has long been, and continues to be, a priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice. This settlement strikes a balance between mining and protecting the environment and will allow the natural resources trustees to focus on restoration efforts rather than on litigation.”

The designated natural resources trustees for the Morenci Mine area include the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service and the Trustee for Natural Resources for the State of Arizona.

This is the second settlement with Freeport-McMoRan Corporation and its mining subsidiaries in as many months. On Feb. 21, 2012, the federal district court in New Mexico approved a consent decree between the United States, the state of New Mexico and Freeport-McMoRan entities that resolved natural resource damages claims at three Freeport-McMoRan mining sites in southwestern New Mexico.

The proposed consent decree, lodged in the District of Arizona, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court review and approval.

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Most of the information you will see comes from some Federal/state Government documents or Federal/State Governm Agency. -----------------------------------------------The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it. ~~~~Will Rogers __The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.~ Albert Einstein ~"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understandingsharpen​ed, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment".~___________________________________ George Washington, Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland, December 2, 1783 Fredericacade@gmail.com

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