Save Oak Flat, Arizona From Resolution Copper





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Published on Dec 23, 2012

In December, 2014 the Southeast AZ Land Exchange Act was signed into law. This bill spells destruction for Oak Flat, a National Forest campground and scenic area in Arizona. President Eisenhower set aside Oak Flat to be preserved from mining in 1955. Yet "thanks" to the underhanded work of Arizona representatives such as John McCain and Ann Kirkpatrick, this landscape including Gaan Canyon and Apache Leap is now threatened by Resolution Copper, which intends to burrow 1.5 miles below for billions in copper.

This area in the Tonto National Forest is a sacred site for the San Carlos Apache Tribe which has held ceremonies here for centuries. Also beloved by climbers and hikers, Oak Flat and adjacent Gaan Canyon (aka Devil's Canyon on maps) contain an endangered Sonoran Desert riparian forest with year-round running water.

Although jobs and riches for Arizona are promised by Resolution Copper, the fact remains that zero royalties on the copper will be paid to the US taxpayers, unlike oil and coal companies that must pay royalties. Job estimates have inflated wildly over the past seven years.

The public remains largely opposed to this project which would send billions of dollars in American wealth overseas while Arizona is slated to earn a pittance in the form of temporary jobs. Certain side effects include contaminated water, a permanently destroyed landscape, and health issues from waste rock. This massive tailings pile is proposed for a location adjacent to the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area. A majority of Arizona's citizens favor the idea of granting national monument status to provide permanent protection to this area.

Please contact your representative about Oak Flat. Visit www.AzMiningReform.org for more information. Facebook: "Saving Oak Flat Campground" and "Apache Stronghold".


March 2016 Update: In a small victory for Oak Flat in the Tonto National Forest, the Obama administration decided to add Oak Flat to the National Historic Register. This adds more layers of requirements to Resolution Copper's plans, and makes it more difficult to mine. However, fuller protection in the form of a national monument is still needed.

Naovember 2015 Update: Senators Bernie Sanders and original co-sponsor Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and others, introduced the Senate companion of the Save Oak Flat Act.

June 2015 Update: Rep Raul Grijalva introduces the "Save Oak Flat" bill in Congress.

January 2015 Update: Oak Flat's fate is in doubt with the passing of the Southeast AZ Land Exchange Act in the final vote of the 2014 Congress. The possibility of saving Oak Flat from destruction may reside with President Obama and his executive authority to protect public land. Ownership of Oak Flat remains with the USA at least for now.

A White House petition asking the President to veto the bill reached the required 100k signatures in less than 1 month. The White House stated that the Obama Administration opposes the land exchange yet is willing to "work with Resolution Copper" to try to preserve Oak Flat. It may be possible for the President to establish an Oak Flat National Monument via the Antiquities Act if enough public support arises.

December 2014 Update: Rep. John McCain, Paul Gosar, and Ann Kirkpatrick attached the Oak Flat Resolution Copper bill to the "must pass" defense spending bill (NDAA). This is an undemocratic maneuver, however legal, which completely bypassed Apache beliefs and public debate on this public land transfer to Rio Tinto (the parent mining company). The Tonto National Forest has nominated Oak Flat for inclusion on the National Historic Register.

August 2013 update: Resolution Copper funds a recall election and ousts Superior Councilwoman Kiki Peralta because she opposed the land exchange at Oak Flat. Her replacement is an employee for a copper-related business who supports the land exchange.

June 2013: Former AZ Representative Rick Renzi (R) was indicted on 17 counts of fraud and other charges stemming from his involvement with Resolution Copper. The charges were raised after Renzi offered Resolution Copper his support in the early 2000s for the land exchange involving Oak Flat.

April 2013 Update: The Superior Town Council voted to officially oppose Resolution Copper.

Feb. 2013 update: U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) submitted a new land exchange bill to attempt to privatize Oak Flat, AZ for Resolution Copper. She has joined forces with the entire Republican delegation in AZ including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who co-sponsored this latest bill with Kirkpatrick. No other democrats in AZ support Kirkpatrick in her pro-mining stance when it comes to this federally-protected recreation area.

"A Not-So-Simple Exchange: Why Arizona's Oak Flat Deserves Continued Protection From Copper Mining" by Blue Frog Productions.
© 2012 Blue Frog, LLC All Rights Reserved
Contact: arizonaelias@yahoo.com


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