Marana continues fight for wastewater control

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Marana's effort to control its own wastewater is on hold after the Pima Association of Governments voted 4-3 against the town. But Marana isn't giving up.

"Marana is just not going to take it anymore," said Mayor Ed Honea from the Town of Marana.

Mayor Honea says his town will fight as long as it takes. He says controlling its own wastewater is critical for the future.

"We're not doing this as a power grab, we're doing this to move forward," said Honea.

Thursday Marana's hopes of moving stumbled a bit after a regional government vote. Pima County, South Tucson, Tohono O'odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui's voted no, while Oro Valley, Marana and Sahuarita voted yes.

But the vote wasn't a surprise to Honea.

"Mr. Huckleberry has the ability to put a lot of pressure on people to keep Marana from moving forward," said Honea.

Town leaders say without wastewater control, Marana's economy is taking a hit. It's already lost 19 projects in the last year, including a hotel and several restaurants.

"We've personally lost millions and hundreds of jobs," said Honea.

Now Marana's hopes lie in the hands of Arizona's Department of Environmental Quality, but Honea is confident they'll get a favorable decision at the state level.

"Mr. Huckleberry is kind of a dictator here in Pima County, but he doesn't have that kind of authority outside of this county and we feel very confident that we'll move it forward," said Honea.

County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry could not be reached for comment, but he has publicly stated he doubts the ADEQ will side with Marana. If they do, expect a probable appeal to the Environmental Protection Agency.