Letter: Arizona Lawmakers Should Support Legislation to Protect Oak Flat from Foreign Mining Operations

‘What Would be Lost Once the Biden Administration Hands Over Oak Flat to Foreign-Owned Mining Company, is Immense’

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Arizona’s congressional delegation should stand with the San Carlos Apache and Indigenous communities throughout the West and support legislation that halts the transfer of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper and protect the culturally and religiously significant area for future generations, 14 national conservation organizations said in a letter.

“Sovereignty is not negotiable. Indigenous religious rights are not trivial. And what would be lost once the Biden Administration hands over Oak Flat to a foreign-owned mining company, is immense,” the organizations said in the letter. “Whether you measure these costs in acre-feet of water, habitat lost, critical minerals exported abroad, or religious and cultural terms, they are too steep. … 

“The Biden Administration and numerous Arizona leaders, including many of you, have committed to listening to Indigenous communities and embracing free, prior, and informed consent. The Save Oak Flat From Foreign Mining Act, introduced by Representative Grijalva, offers you all an opportunity to transform those commitments from words into actions.”

Congressman Raúl Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) Save Oak Flat from Foreign Mining Act would reverse provisions in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act that authorized the transfer of Oak Flat to a foreign-owned mining conglomerate. The bill would withdraw the area, part of the Tonto National Forest, from consideration for future projects.

The letter’s signatories are the National Wildlife Federation; Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors (HECHO); American Rivers; Climate Crisis Policy; The Continental Divide Trail Coalition; Earth Bill Network; Earthjustice; Earthworks; Endangered Species Coalition; GreenLatinos; League of Conservation Voters; Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness; the Sierra Club; and The Wilderness Society.



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