Protecting Arizona’s Environment | Arizona Attorney General

Protecting Arizona’s Environment | Arizona Attorney General

Kris Mayes during an interview about Arizona cracking down on foreign owned farms.


“We cannot afford to do dumb things with our water any longer.”

Whether it’s pushing for stronger groundwater protections for rural Arizonans, or going after big water polluters – Attorney General Mayes understands the need to protect our most precious natural resource – water.


Safeguarding groundwater supplies

The situation. Since the beginning of her administration, Attorney General Mayes has called for stricter oversight of Arizona’s most precious natural resource – water. She is especially concerned about rural Arizonans whose wells have been dewatered due to the lack of Active Management Areas (AMAs) and Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas (INAs) that exist in other parts of the state. Over-pumping of groundwater has also caused land subsidence and structural damage in many of these areas.

Megafarms pumping precious water. The Attorney General has spoken out against the decision by the prior administration to allow foreign corporations to lease State-owned land, drill deep wells, and then pump unlimited amounts of groundwater – for free. These megafarms are essentially exporting Arizona’s water by growing alfalfa, which is then used to feed cattle in Saudi Arabia and other places.

What the Attorney General did about it. In April 2023, Attorney General Mayes discovered discrepancies in two pending applications for new deep-water wells on State Trust land, leased to Saudi-owned Fondomonte. After bringing the issue to the attention of the Arizona State Land Department and Arizona Department of Water Resources, the drill permits were revoked.

Stopped two wells that would
have pumped 6,000 gallons
of water a minute total

The impact. The two wells would have each pumped 3,000 gallons of water per minute – totaling 6,000 gallons of water a minute that would have been used to grow alfalfa for Saudi Arabian cattle. Had these wells been permitted, just three minutes of use would equal the amount of water used by an average Phoenix family of four in an entire month, approximately 17,000 gallons.

Canceling some of the leases. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office worked closely with Governor Hobbs’ administration on this issue, including conducting site inspections of several Arizona State Land Department lessees. In October 2023, Governor Hobbs decided to terminate and not renew Fondomonte’s Arizona State Land leases in Butler Valley.



What is PFAS? Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “PFAS” or toxic “forever chemicals,” are in a wide range of consumer products and firefighting foams. These man-made chemicals contaminated the environment and drinking water. 

The lawsuit. Attorney General Mayes filed suit against manufacturers of products that contain PFAS, including 3M and DuPont. The suit alleged that these companies had known for decades that the forever chemicals in their products would contaminate water supplies but chose to sell them anyway.

The goal. The suit aimed to seek damages from the companies to pay for the costs of removing PFAS from drinking water and to remediate PFAS contamination throughout Arizona.

Going further. Arizona opposed a proposed class action settlement that fails to adequately hold 3M accountable for contaminating Americans’ – and Arizonans – drinking water supply. 

The Attorney General has also supported several U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) proposed rules to rein in polluters, including:

  • Setting enforceable drinking water standards for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
  • Designating certain inactive PFAS as significant new uses under the Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Strengthening PFAS regulations by adding the forever chemicals to the list of “Chemicals of Special Concern” under the Toxic Release Inventory of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act 



Rural crowd in bleachers listening to Attorney General Kris Mayes.Attorney General Kris Mayes speaking with rural community.


The situation. The Attorney General was notified about a proposed aggregate mine in a rural residential area in Chino Valley in Yavapai County. She instructed investigators to visit the site and meet with residents to collect information, then organized a listening session with the community to hear their concerns first-hand.

What the Attorney General did about it. On November 7, 2023, Attorney General Mayes filed a Preliminary Injunction asking the court to recognize the severe implications of the proposed Chino Valley mine’s operation as a public nuisance and to halt its development. 

The impact. After filing the injunction, a 30-year resident of the area purchased the property from the proposed mine landowners and confirmed the land would not be used as a mine in the future.



“Corporations should be permitted to access capital markets in ways that they feel are necessary for the advancement of their investor objectives and for society, as long as they are doing so in a lawful manner.” 
– Attorney General Kris Mayes

What is ESG? Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing refers to a set of principles or standards for a company’s behavior for issues like climate change policies, energy use, efficiency and equity. Socially conscious investors then use these standards to screen investments.

Former investigation. Attorney General Mayes’ predecessor launched an investigation in 2022 into six major banks over their ESG investing.

What the Attorney General did about it. Shortly after taking office, Attorney General Mayes withdrew Arizona from the investigation, stating that the State of Arizona is not going to stand in the way of corporations’ efforts to act responsibly for the future. In late 2023, the Attorney General called on Congress to defend companies’ right to consider ESG factors in prudent investment decision-making.



  • Launched an investigation into lead-covered cables that may be present throughout Arizona. Reports have identified lead-cables as a potential environmental and public health risk.  
  • Submitted comments on the EPA’s supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from new, modified, and existing fossil-fueled power plants.
  • Submitted comments on the EPA’s proposal to strengthen regulations of trichloroethylene (TCE) after the agency issued a risk determination under the Toxic Substances Control Act finding that TCE poses an unreasonable risk of injury to human health. 
  • Submitted comments on the EPA’s proposal to amend the rule that determines how risk evaluations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) are conducted. 
  • Submitted comments on the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed updates to safety regulations for gas distribution and other pipelines. In their comments, the attorneys general emphasized the importance of protecting communities from decades-old pipelines at risk of gas leaks and explosions.
  • Filed comments on the EPA’s call for certain restrictions on the use of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide that is toxic to bees and other pollinators. 
  • Submitted comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) draft guidance on lead levels in food for babies and young children, urging the FDA to adopt stronger guidance on lead levels in baby food.

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