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The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition is comprised of Arizona groups and individuals that work to ensure that responsible mining contributes to healthy communities, a healthy environment, and, when all costs are factored in, is a net benefit to Arizona. The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition expects the mining industry to clean up after itself, comply fully with the spirit of safeguards in place to protect Arizona, and to interact in a transparent and open manner with Arizona citizens.

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A year ago, the Oak Flat land exchange was signed into law after Rio Tinto's Congressional allies took advantage of a perfect storm and added the exchange as a rider onto an unrelated bill. 

Rio Tinto hoped this backdoor deal would be a fatal blow to our efforts to protect Oak Flat.  

How wrong they were! In the last year: 

  • Our strength and determination has increased exponentially. 
  • Oak Flat remains in public ownership. 
  • The permitting process, a prerequisite for privatization of Oak Flat has not yet begun and not one shovel has bit the ground to determine whether Rio Tinto's toxic tailings location is even suitable. 
  • Bills to repeal the Oak Flat land exchange are building strength in the US House and the Senate. 

Senate Version of Save Oak Flat Act Introduced

On November 5, 2015, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a bill in the US Senate to repeal the Oak Flat land exchange (Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015). Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are original co-sponsors of the bill.  The number of the new bill is S. 2242 and is a companion bill to the House version (H.R. 2811) introduced in June, 2015 by Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) which now has 36 co-sponsors.

The new Senate bill is another example of growing support for the repeal of the Oak Flat land exchange which would give US public land at Oak Flat to a foreign mining company.  Oak Flat is sacred and an ecological and recreational haven.

you can see a copy of S. 2242 here.

Call your Congressperson today to Co-sponsor the Save Oak Flat Act

Please call your Congressperson today and ask him/her to cosponsor the Save Oak Flat Act to repeal Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Last December in the closing days of the 113th Congress in the dead of night, Rio Tinto’s Congressional supporters stuck the Oak Flat land exchange onto a must past national defense bill.  The land exchange became Section 3003 of the defense bill.  Section 3003 has nothing to do with national defense, but Rio Tinto’s supports knew that the land exchange would not pass on its own. 

In June of this year, Congressman Grijalva from Arizona introduced HR 2811, the Save Oak Flat Act, which will repeal Section 3003 and keep Oak Flat as public land.  As of now, 36 members of Congress from both parties have cosponsored this bill. 

With your help, that number will grow and the bill will pass and protect Oak Flat!

Thanks,
Roger Featherstone, Director

Colorado Mine Release Requires 1872 Mining Law Reform

On August 5, 2015, a cleanup crew hired by the US EPA accidentally triggered the release of more than 3 million gallons of toxic acid mine drainage that had pooled inside the defunct Gold King Mine in the headwaters of the Animas River.

The toxic plume colored the Animas a neon orange-yellow and forced the closure of the Animas for more than a week and contaminated water wells along the river.  The plume is now traveling down the San Juan River and will end up in Lake Powell. 

This is a tragic event to be sure and many are blaming the EPA.  Without a doubt, congress and state agencies will be using this accident as a blunt instrument to attack the EPA.  However, there is plenty of blame to go around.

Ask your Representative to Cosponsor the Save Oak Flat Act

Please contact your Congressional Representative today and ask him/her to cosponsor the Save Oak Flat Act to repeal Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Last December in the closing days of the 113th Congress in the dead of night, Rio Tinto’s Congressional supporters stuck the Oak Flat land exchange onto a must past national defense bill.  The land exchange became Section 3003 of the defense bill.  Section 3003 has nothing to do with national defense, but Rio Tinto’s supports knew that the land exchange would not pass on its own. 

Sign a Comment Letter to acknowledge Oak Flat's Cultural & Historic Importance

The National Park Service is accepting comments about placing Oak Flat on the list of National Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property because of its sacredness and significance to Native American Tribes. 

The nomination would list Oak Flat as a Traditional Cultural Property on the National Register of Historic Places.  (Note that the nomination uses the Apache name for Oak Flat, Chi’chil Bildagoteel.)

Please take action and sign a letter to the National Park Service (who is responsible for making the final decision on adding Oak Flat to the list) to help protect Oak Flat.

The deadline for you to sign the letter is noon (Arizona Time) on Monday, June 29, so act now. 

Oak Flat named to 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list

National Trust for Historic Preservation names sacred Arizona site threatened by copper mining to list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

(Oak Flat, Arizona) -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Oak Flat, near Superior, Arizona, to its 2015 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The annual list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.

National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places takes place in Washington, DC

Observances and ceremonies will be held across the land on June 19-24 to mark the 2015 National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.

The prayer events include Oak Flat.

The observance in Washington, D.C. will be held on Friday, June 19, at 8:30 a.m., on the United States Capitol Grounds, West Front Grassy Area Nine (see details under Washington, D.C. in the alphabetical listing by state on the following pages).

Go here for the press release and schedule of events.

Statement of Roger Featherstone at Rio Tinto AGM 4-16-15

Here is the statement of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition at this morning's Rio Tinto Annual General Meeting in London:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I have come to London again to speak to you and continued to be troubled by the activities of a Rio Tinto at Oak Flat, which is sacred and ecologically priceless public land.

First regarding the promises of Rio Tinto starting from the top, at last year's AGM, Sam Walsh, your CEO, promised to contact me about a visit the next time he was in Arizona. However, Mr. Walsh and his entourage was observed by our encampment at Oak Flat, flying into the #10 mine shaft site in a fancy helicopter a few weeks ago, sticking around to meet with mine supporters for a few minutes and then leaving. No contact, or notice of the visit.

Sign a Petition to Repeal the Oak Flat Land Exchange

High above the town of Superior a hour east of Phoenix, Arizona, lies Oak Flat.  Oak Flat campground was protected from mining by President Eisenhower in 1955 and is a rare desert riparian area with large oak trees, cool shade, year around water in pools and springs.  Oak Flat is sacred to Native American tribes and critical for religious freedom.  It is a recreational haven and popular for camping, hiking, rock climbing, and bridwatching.

Unfortunately, Oak Flat is under attack by two huge foreign mining companies that refuse to play by the rules in the quest for control this incredible place. 

On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law.  The bill contained the Oak Flat land exchange which gives Oak Flat to the mining companies.  

This midnight deal is the culmination of 10 years of work by Arizona’s Senators and some Congressmen at the behest of Rio Tinto, to subvert the will of not only Native American Tribes, conservation organizations, the Superior Town Council, and others, but the will of the United States Congress who has forcefully rejected the land exchange for nearly 10 years.

Oak Flat will not be turned over to Rio Tinto until 60 days after the publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement.  Until that time, Oak Flat remains public land owned by all Americans free to be enjoyed and celebrated by all. 

During this time, we must all work together to demand that Congress correct its mistake and repeal Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Please sign this petition and do everything you can to protect Oak Flat.

Go to our action alert page to sign the petition.

You can go here for a copy of the petition you can print and circulate.  Mail or email it back to us when it is full.

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Dr. Radut