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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.

Ocelots at Oak Flat?

Ocelots are roaming Arizona!  

The Sky Island Alliance photographed an ocelot in southern Arizona in November or 2009.  And in April of 2010, an ocelot was run over by a car between Gaan Canyon just east of Oak Flat Campground and Top Of The World, Arizona. According to a recent article in the latest issue of the High Country News, the Arizona Game & Fish Department thinks that this ocelot was not captive breed and therefore presumably a free roaming wild ocelot.  In addition to the ocelot kill on US Highway 60, there have been several sitings of ocelots within the Oak Flat Campground itself since April of 2010.  The Arizona Game & Fish Department is working with the US Fish & WIldlife Service and the US Forest Service to investigate these sitings.

It has been known for some time that the Oak Flat ecosystem (containing Gaan Canyon, Apache Leap, Queen Creek Canyon, and Oak Flat Campground) is ecologically unique, but the high probability of ocelots in the area is yet another reason to not rush into passage of the Oak Flat land exchange and to make sure that Rio Tinto goes though the normal process of trying to permit a mine rather than taking a Congressional shortcut.

Stop Poison Pill that would destroy Oak Flat

Senator Harry Reid has assembled a draft omnibus public lands bill that he would like to introduce and pass yet this Congress in the waning days of the current lame duck session.

Upper Gaan CanyonUpper Gaan Canyon

Senator Reid’s efforts are laudable except for one major flaw with the bill:  apparently in an effort to gain support for the bill from Senator McCain and other Republicans, he has inserted a major “poison pill” into the bill.  It contains the Oak Flat Land Exchange (S 409 – the result of a compromise deal between Senator McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Bingaman (D-NM).  The Oak Flat land exchange is an extremely controversial bill that would result in the destruction of not only an incredible and unique desert ecosystem, but the religious freedom of Native American Tribes.

Foes of Rosemont Mine remain confident

Roger Featherstone, DirectorRoger Featherstone, DirectorTony Davis of the Arizona Daily Star interviewed Director of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition, Roger Featherstone, and President of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, Gayle Hartmann, last week and published parts of the interview on Sunday, August 22, 2010.  See a transcript of the article here or go to the full article.

Oak Flat land exchange Op-Ed

The following editorial written by Roy Chavez and Roger Featherstone ran in the April 20, 2010 edition of the Arizona Republic.


The Sonoran Institute was on target in its critique of the proposed Rosemont mine south of Tucson (4/3/10 Arizona Republic), however, the author drew the wrong conclusion about Rio Tinto’s proposal to mine under Oak Flat Campground east of Superior.  In fact it would be impossible to do the same thorough analysis of the Rio Tinto project as is being done on the Rosemont mine proposal, since Rio Tinto has yet to even write a mining plan.  Rio Tinto is trying to evade the rules, which every other mining company wanting to use public lands must follow, and has instead gone straight to the U.S. Congress for a special sweetheart land exchange deal.


Tucson Premiere of The Great Oak Flat Land Giveaway

Up In LightsUp In LightsPlease attend the Tucson Premiere of The Great Oak Flat Land Giveaway on Wednesday, March 24th at 7:30 PM at the Screening Room (127 E. Congress St.) in downtown Tucson, AZ.  The film will be followed by a panel discussion by the filmmakers and principles in the film. There is a suggested donation of $5.00 and copies of the film will be available for purchase.

Congresswoman Kirkpatrick Introduces McCain compromise in House

Yesterday Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick introduced the compromise language Senator McCain wrote last year on the Oak Flat land exchange.  That language was substituted for the original language in S 409 and was voted out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last December.  The new bill, HR 4880 has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.  Representative Kirkpatrick has renamed the bill the ‘‘Copper Basin Jobs Act’’

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.

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