Just when you thought it was over there is breaking news the Duarte City Council has unanimously decided to pursue litigation against Vulcan and Azusa over the recently approved Azusa Rock Quarry mining project.
OK, you didn’t really think it was over did you?
This is really only breaking news because it happened last night at a closed session council meeting. In truth, this probably surprises no one. Not me, not Duarte (the vote was unanimous), not Azusa, and not Vulcan.
Azusa has said all along they anticipated litigation, Vulcan and Azusa agreed in the development agreement that Vulcan would pay to fight any legal challenge, and Duarte has that $700,000 Fight Against Vulcan Expansion fund.
Plus, when Duarte, Vulcan and Azusa failed to reach a settlement deal earlier this year, if the project was approved what other outcome was there?
Now we will get to see what Duarte’s legal arguments will be. My guess is they will argue about the flaws in the environmental impact report, their believed contradictions in the development agreement, and the lack of a full evaluation and consideration of alternative project options including mining both sides of the canyon without cutting down any ridge lines.
Add in the potential for two Brown Act violations by Azusa, including the fact the original vote to reconsider the project was originally not on the council agenda.
Azusa (via Vulcan’s lawyers) will have to defend those allegations and its review of the project in court.
How does this affect mining for now? Duarte can seek an injunction that would prevent operations until the legal challenges end. The court would have to approve any injunction.