With the passage of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act in December 2014, Resolution Copper acquired 2,422 acres of federal land above and adjacent to its copper deposit near Superior, Arizona in exchange for 5,344 acres of conservation lands across the state of Arizona.
On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, Congressman Raúl Grijalva introduced legislation in the U. S. House of Representatives that would repeal Section 3003 of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes this land exchange package.
Known as the “Save Oak Flat Act,” this piece of legislation sets a very dangerous precedent that if passed would threaten the economic and national security of all Americans.
By its very nature large mining projects like the one being developed by Resolution Copper require a considerable amount of time and investment of capital before they are able to supply consumers the raw materials we use each and every day.
In the case of the Resolution Copper project, more than $1.1 billion has been invested in this project over the twenty years since its initial discovery in February 1995. Arizonans have benefited from this investment, which has already paid off through the creation of hundreds of direct and indirect jobs. Furthermore, a capital investment of more than $6 billion dollars will be required before a single pound of copper is mined from this deposit when it comes on line during the next decade.
This bill not only significantly increases the risks for the Resolution Copper project, but if passed the highly emotional appeals contained within this legislative package could also be used to threaten other private and public projects that use public lands.
Passage of the Save Oak Flat Act would send a chilling message to the business community, discouraging them to invest in our nation’s economic future and encouraging them to relocate their operations and badly needed, good paying jobs overseas. Over time this would result in the transfer and loss of technologies and skill sets that are essential for remaining competitive in the global marketplace. It will ultimately reduce America’s ability to produce the goods we require to maintain our standard of living and meet our national security needs.
Contrary to Congressman Grijalva’s statement that the land exchange was an unpopular corporate giveaway, well over 80% of the residents in Arizona’s Copper Triangle, where the project is located, enthusiastically support Resolution Copper’s effort to responsibly develop the largest copper resource discovered in America over the last century. This includes many members of the San Carlos Indian community, who view it as an opportunity to significantly lower their 70% unemployment rate, provide a better life for their families, and make resources available to solve many of the other problems that accompany the high poverty levels on their reservation.
Copyright © (2015) by David F. Briggs. Reprint is permitted only if the credit of authorship is provided and linked back to the source.