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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.

Oak Flat Land Exchange In The News

Recent Press on the Oak Flat Land Exchange

It's All in a Name (Or You Can Try to Change the Stripes on a Skunk, but it Still Stinks!)

It's bad enough for Congresswoman Kirkpatrick (D-1st District, Arizona) to be pushing for the destruction of Oak Flat Campground by two foreign mining companies, but now in an attempt to obfuscate the issue, the Congresswoman is trying to change the name of the project.  Instead of identifying the issue as the Oak Flat land Exchange (or it's "official" title as the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009) (S 409 and HR 2509), she is now referring to this miscarriage of due process as the Copper Basin Jobs Project.  Taking a page out of her predecessor Rick Renzi's playbook, this is just another underhanded scheme to rip off our public lands. Please be aware of this attempt to fly under the radar.  This certainly isn't a jobs project, it's a land exchange that will make us all poorer!

The new bill number for Kirkpatrick's bill is HR 4880 and it is nearly identical to the Senate version (S 409) introduced by Senator McCain. Our fact sheets on the original version of S 409 and the new version that was passed by the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

The Great Oak Flat Land Giveaway

Directed and Edited by Bryan O'Neal, Director of Photography: Ruben Ruiz, Produced by Roger Featherstone
If you are having trouble watching the video, try updating your flash player plug-in. No flash - download The Great Oak Flat Land Giveaway in .mov format (beware - 245mb!)

Two foreign mining companies, Rio Tinto and BHP - Billiton, have created a subsidiary (Resolution Copper) that is proposing to mine a copper deposit more than 7,000 feet deep east of Superior, Arizona. As a first step, Rio Tinto is currently shopping around a land exchange bill S. 409 (in the Senate) and HR 2509 (in the House)  that would end an executive order banning mining from Oak Flat Campground and privatize more than 2,400 acres of public land.

Rosemont pit will pump deep, create lake

The following story ran in the January 8, 2010 edition of the Nogales International.  The report referenced in the story was written for the mining company and points out what opponents have been saying all along:  This is the wrong place for a mine.  it's hard to even imagine what the Santa Rita's would look like with the water table more than 2,000 feet lower than it is now!

Rosemont pit will pump deep, create lake

By Dick Kamp

A study of flow impacts from water drainage at a proposed open-pit mine in the Santa Rita Mountains predicts the formation of an 819-foot “pit lake” 100 years after the mining is completed.

According to the study commissioned by the Augusta Resource Rosemont Mine, groundwater at the bottom of the pit will have dropped 2,020 feet below current modeled groundwater levels at that site.

Open-pit miners and underground mines pump water constantly when operating so that folding does not hinder operations once a pit is below groundwater levels.

San Carlos Apache Press Release on S 409 Mark-up

Please read the press statement released by the San Carlos Apache Tribe on the mark -up of S 409 on Wendsday, December 16th, 2009.

Oak Flat Land Exchange Sneak Attack Successful

Well folks, it's official.  The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee would rather give another handout to a foreign mining consortium worth $300 Billion than to protecting the religious freedom or the natural treasures of this country.

Today, by a voice vote and without debate The Committee passed S 409 as amended along with 31 other bills despite knowing that the compromise between Senator Bingaman and Senator McCain did not pass muster from taxpayers, Native Americans, climbers, or conservationists.  To get the job done Senator Bingaman and Senator McCain resorted to backroom horse-trading and maneuvers instead of doing the people's business in the light of day.

Please contact your Senators on the Committee and express your disappointment and stay tuned for ways you can help stop this government handout on the Senate floor and in the House.

There will be campaign corks popping in the corporate headquarters of Rio Tinto in London and BHP in Australia, but to put things in perspective, these mining giants have had an army of paid lobbyists and PR hacks working this legislation since 2004 and this is the first time they've gotten a bill out of committee.  Who says the average Joe or Jane can't make a difference?

Grijalva Calls for Investigation into Rio Tinto Human Rights Record

The following statement was released by Congressman Grijalva today on human rights violations by Rio Tinto and the Oak Flat land exchange.

Grijalva Calls For Full Investigation of Rio Tinto Human Rights Record Before Lucrative Mining Land Swap

Wednesday December 16, 2009

Washington, DC - Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today questioned the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s decision to vote on the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009 without investigating the poor human rights record – including alleged illegal payments to a foreign army – of the bill’s main beneficiary, mining conglomerate Rio Tinto.

The bill grants Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton,a lucrative land swap in central Arizona that would give the company mining rights it values at approximately $140 billion over the mine’s projected life span. The company would receive the title to land previously removed from mining activities by President Eisenhower’s administration. Read more »

Stop Oak Flat Land Exchange in Senate

Gaan Canyon Vegetation and WaterGaan Canyon Vegetation and WaterYour action is needed now to stop a compromise on the Oak Flat land exchange bill (S. 409) that is schedule to be marked up in the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on December 16th along with 35 other bills.

This remarkable display of speed was brought about by a deal cut between Senator John McCain of Arizona who has been championing Rio Tinto’s special interest legislation to help him get re-elected to the Senate next year, and Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

Although Senator Bingaman promised Tribal leaders in a meeting following the Bill’s hearing in June that he would consult with them before any movement of the bill, this deal was struck without input from the Tribes.  In fact, bill language was only shared to a few select groups and then only at the strong insistence to see language and after a promise was extracted not to share the language widely.

What we do know about this deal is troubling.

Please contact members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee and ask them to oppose any consideration of this amendment.

Mines Top Arizona Toxics List

According to the US EPA, Arizona mines are once again Arizona's biggest polluters.  Each year, the EPA releases it's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data for each state.  This inventory, required by law since 1987, tallies pollution released into our air, water, and ground.  These releases are not verified independently and come form the companies themselves, so the figures are probably conservative.

For 2008, 7 out of the top 10 polluters in Arizona are mines.  The report shows that toxic release in Arizona increased by 7% in 2008 while the national average dropped 6%.  The Arizona figures do not include billions of pounds of tailings that Congress exempted from the reporting requirements.

Oak Flat Land Exchange Double Threat

Gaan Canyon VegetationGaan Canyon VegetationYour action is needed now to stop a serious attempt by Rio Tinto and their allies in the US House and Senate from moving HR 2509 and S 409. In the Senate, Energy & Natural Resource Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman and Arizona Senator John McCain are trying to work out a compromise bill. In the House, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick is attempting to convince House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move HR 2509.

In the House, please contact Representative Ann Kirkpatrick and remind her why HR 2509 is a bad idea.  Also contact House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and tell her why HR 2509 is special interest legislation that gives a huge subsidy to foreign mining companies that already make billions of dollars in profits every year.

In the Senate, please contact Senator McCain and Senator Bingaman and tell them "no backroom deals." Senator McCain has bullied Senator Bingaman to the point that he is willing to compromise, but he needs to stick to his guns to protect the land, religious freedom, and the normal process we use to permit mines.

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Dr. Radut