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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.

House of Representatives contemplating adding Oak Flat land exchange to Defense authorization bill

Sycamore in Full fall color in Gaan CanyonSycamore in Full fall color in Gaan CanyonWe have learned today that the House of Representatives leadership is trying to add the Oak Flat land exchange to the National Defense Authorization Act as part of a package of public lands bills.  Your help is needed immediately to contact your Representative and ask him/her to oppose the Oak Flat land exchange (HR 687) under any circumstances and especially as a rider onto a Defense bill.

The Oak Flat land exchange is the only bill in this Congress that would give a Native American sacred site on public lands to a foreign mining company, would be the largest single loss of recreational opportunities on public land, and would circumvent the normal process of permitting mines located on public land.  The House leadership brought the land exchange to the House floor for a vote twice a year ago, but pulled it at the last minute because they could not defeat an amendment to the bill that would have prevented the privatization of an public land that is sacred.

Why is it that at the end of every Congress, Rio Tinto's supporters try to sneak the land exchange through Congress in the dead of night? 

Send a letter to your Representative to stop the Oak Flat land exchange now!

Act now to stop the Oak Flat land exchange

Congress has returned for a final session and some Senators may attempt to bundle the Oak Flat Land Exchange, S. 339, with other bills that deal with public lands.  

Most of these bill are good bills, but adding the Oak Flat land exchange to the package would poison the entire bill.

S. 339 is a land exchange that foreign-owned Rio Tinto mining company has convinced Arizona members of Congress to introduce on their behalf, a giveaway of land that is sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe. The bill would be the only bill in Congress that would give away a sacred site to a foreign corporation, would be the largest loss of recreational climbing on public lands, and would overturn a ban on mining at Oak Flat that was put in place by President Eisenhower.

This is nothing new. At the end of every Congress, Rio Tinto's supporters in Congress try to bypass normal procedure by attaching the land exchange to an unrelated piece of legislation.  They know they cannot pass the land exchange in the light of day, so they resort to these behind the scenes maneuvers.  

We've helped to stop this bill before, now we need your help to do it again!

Tell your Senator that privatizing federally protected lands and turning them over to a foreign mining corporation without federal environmental review or public input isn't right. Sacred sites, recreation and the sensitive ecological area surrounding Oak Flat are more important than a copper mine.

Tell your Senator to save Oak Flat from foreign mining companies!

Arizona Mining Reform Coalition attends Rio Tinto AGM in London

This morning, April 18th, 2013, Rio Tinto held their Annual General Meeting in London.  Our Director, Roger Featherstone, was in town and attended the meeting.  

During the meeting, Roger was able to ask the Rio Tinto Board of Directors the following question:

Town of Superior passes Resolution opposing the Oak Flat land exchange

On March 13, 2013, the town council of Superior, Arizona passed a unanimous resolution opposing HR 687, the latest version of the Oak Flat land exchange.  The resolution passed following a town council meeting a week ago in which the town council took comments on their decision to oppose the land exchange and end a Mutual Benefits Agreement with Rio Tinto. At that meeting, the majority of comments supported the town decision.Superior Town Council meetingSuperior Town Council meeting

During the council meeting Rio Tinto threatened to lay off it's workers if the town passed the resolution.  This is similar to a threat Rio Tinto made last November to lay off most of their workers is the previous version of the land exchange, HR 1904, was not approved by Congress.  There is no word yet whether Rio Tinto will follow through with their threat now that the resolution has been passed.

See a copy of the resolution.

Town of Superior Ends Agreements with Rio Tinto

Main Street, SuperiorMain Street, Superior

On February 21, 2013, the town of Superior officially terminated its Mutual Benefits Agreement with Rio Tinto and withdrew it's letter of support for the Oak Flat land exchange.  

The town's letter begins, "Due to the financial condition of the Town of Superior, I have been instructed to inform you that we regret that we can no longer express our unqualified support of the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act (HR 687 or SB 339, as drafted.)"

The letter cites 6 reasons for the termination with its relationship with Rio Tinto:

Queen Valley opposes Rio Tinto's water diversion away from Queen Creek

On December 3, 2012, the Queen Valley Golf Association passed a resolution opposing Rio Tinto's diversion of 900,000 gallons Queen Valley Golf CourseQueen Valley Golf Courseof water a day from its normal course down Queen Creek to a pipeline carrying the water directly to the Phoenix area where it is diluted and dumped on agriculture fields in return for water credits going to Rio Tinto that could be used should Rio Tinto develop a proposed mine at Oak Flat.  This diversion has left Queen Valley, a small retirement community centered around it's golf course, with water shortages.See the Queen Valley Golf Association's letter here.

On January 11, 2013, the Queen Valley Homeowners Association passed a similar resolution opposing the water diversion and also opposing RIo Tinto's plans to place a mountain of tailings at Florence Junction.  A tailings pile at Florence Junction would seriously impact the community, only 4 miles away.  See the Queen Valley Homeowners Association letter here.

Video Corner

Our friends have produced three videos on mining issues that we work on.  Please take a look at them and share the links.   Together we can spread the word about why these proposals are bad for Arizona, bad for our communities, and bad for the environment!

The first is called Cyanide Beach and was produced by John Dougherty and show how 5 current members of the Board of Directors were involved in a mine in Sardina, Italy that not only has caused massive pollution, but left a trail of lies and broken promises.

Rio Tinto Threatens Layoffs unless Land Exchange Passes

December 5, 2012

On November 30, Rio Tinto announced that unless the US Congress passes the Oak Flat land exchange immediately, they will lay off 80% of their workforce at Oak Flat between now and March.  In an orchestrated fashion, Senator McCain and Congressman Gosar both urged the Congress to pass the land exchange this year and an AZ Republic Op-ed decried Senate inaction.

Since Rio Tinto has made similar statement during every Congressional season since the land exchange has been introduced, organizations opposing the land exchange have blasted the announcement.

Contact your Senators to Stop the Oak Flat land exchange

We are at the tail end of the 112th Congress and have been able to keep the Oak Flat land exchange from moving in the US Senate. However, Senators Kyl and McCain are intent on pushing through the Oak Flat land exchange (HR 1904) this year to give more government handouts to two of the world’s largest mining companies.

Congress is back after the elections in a lame duck session that should wrap up by the end of the year. Kyl and McCain will most likely attempt to attach HR 1904 to important legislation instead of letting the Senate decide on the merits of the bill. Because of the controversial nature of the Oak Flat land exchange, this would amount to adding a poison pill to any necessary legislation.

Do not let Senators McCain and Kyl divert the Congress from important business by inserting their destructive special interest bill.

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Dr. Radut