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San Carlos Apache Tribe Announces Towns Of Superior & Queen Valley Join Opposition To H.R. 687 (Southeast Conservation & Land Exchange Act Of 2013)

SAN CARLOS, Ariz., March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Town of Superior on March 13, 2013 voted unanimously to oppose H.R. 687.  "We cannot afford this deal or support it until Resolution Copper Mine (RCM) comes clean," said Soyla "Kiki" Peralta, Council Member, Town of Superior.  She cited concerns over water and environmental issues and noted that the plan of operations for the mine has not been disclosed, discussed or addressed.  Previously the Town voted to terminate its Mutual Benefits Agreement with RCM after the mining company required the Town to borrow $8 million to purchase land already owned or permitted to the Town. 

Queen Valley Homeowners Association, representing the unincorporated town, passed a resolution January 11, 2013 opposing H.R. 687.  It cited its concern that the mining company has been pumping 900,000 gallons of water a day out of the Queen Creek drainage area. "This is water our community depends on," said John Krieg, a board member.  "We support jobs and economic growth, but not at the expense of others."

The City of Globe unanimously tabled a resolution in support of H.R. 687 largely because of concerns over RCM's requirement for 40,000 acre feet a year of water.  "That amount of water could supply the City of Globe for 16 years, and that level of consumption could easily pull down our aquifer. Without full disclosure from RCM about its water needs or compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act before the passage of H.R. 687, I cannot support these kinds of mining operations," said Globe Councilman Dezi Baker.

H.R. 687, the "Southeast Conservation and Land Exchange Act of 2013," would give Resolution Copper Mine permission for a block cave copper mine, 7,000 feet deep, in the Tonto National Forest.  The mine would destroy an area set aside in 1955 by President Eisenhower that is sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe and other tribes. It would mandate the Secretary of Agriculture to transfer more than 2,400 acres of Oak Flat Campground and surrounding public land in the Tonto National Forest to the private, international mining giant.  RCM is owned by Rio Tinto (PLC) United Kingdom and BHP Billiton Ltd. Australia. China also has an ownership interest in RCM.  This bill goes before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Natural Resources Committee March 21, 2013.

The San Carlos Apache Tribe has led the opposition to the land exchange bill. "We, along with many tribes, and recreational and environmental organizations, have opposed this land swap and the mine for more than seven years.  The mine would be an environmental disaster on an unprecedented scale and the job claims made by the copper company are unsubstantiated.  As Apaches, we will continue to fight to preserve this land for us and for all Arizonans," said Terry Rambler, Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

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