What’s at Stake
Arizona's "River of Life", the San Pedro River is a remnant of a once extensive network of desert riparian corridors that traversed the Southwest.
Recognized as a world heritage natural area by the United Nations World Heritage program, the San Pedro River supports 400 species of birds (nearly half of the U.S. total), 100 species of butterflies, 83 species of mammals and 47 species of amphibians and reptiles.
The San Pedro is the Southwest's last surviving undammed desert river, threatened by local groundwater pumping that intercepts water that would ordinarily move from the aquifer seeping through the riverbanks to provide surface flow to the river. Reduction of the river’s flows have already adversely affected the riparian and wetland vegetation surrounding the river, as well as species dependent on riparian habitat.
Stu Gillespie, Attorney, Rocky Mountain Office: “It’s hard not to come away from this [permit suspension] with the impression they have understood there are legal flaws in their permit that we identified in our lawsuit.”
Stu Gillespie, Attorney, Earthjustice: “Everything would come to a standstill. You’d have gridlock delays at every intersection. It confirms that this whole notion they could develop the property without the Clean Water Act permit is baseless and unfounded.”
Stu Gillespie, Attorney, Earthjustice: “If this type of letter is all a developer needs to do under this administration to circumvent the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Protection Act, there will be serious impacts to our environment that go unanalyzed and unregulated. That is a very disturbing outcome.”