The Superstition Mountains in Tonto National Forest, sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe, is the subject of yet another incarnation of a bill that would allow copper mining.

Legislation for Rio Tinto Copper Mine on Sacred Land Slips Into Defense Bill

Gale Courey Toensing

Lawmakers have slipped a piece of legislation that would allow a massive copper mine in southeast Arizona on public land that is sacred to the Apaches into a defense bill that must pass before the end of the year, the Arizona Republic reported on December 3.

The bill—H.R. 687 Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013—would allow a subsidiary of the controversial international mining conglomerate Rio Tinto to acquire 2,400 acres of the federally protected Tonto National Forest in southeast Arizona in exchange for 5,000 acres in parcels scattered around the state.

House lawmakers added the land-swap bill late Tuesday night into the 1,600-page National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense appropriation legislation that must be passed each year, according to the report.

The massive underground mining project is fiercely opposed by the San Carlos Apache Tribe and other southwestern nations, as well as the Sierra Club and local environmental groups, who fear the mine will devastate the water and land on Oak Flats—part of the Apaches’ ancestral territory but now held in trust as public land by the federal government. San Carlos has fought the copper mine proposal for nearly a decade. The tribal council passed a resolution opposing the mine in 2006.

The bill has been floating around for a while, having been before Congress in previous years as well. 

RELATED: Sacred Arizona Site Under Siege Pending House Vote

Arizona Tribes and Environmental Groups Oppose HR 287 for Mining in the Tonto National Forest

A full report on the controversial mining proposal will follow.

RELATED: Copper Mine Opposition Grows as Senate Land Swap Bill Moves Forward

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100IndigenousAmerican's picture
Submitted by 100IndigenousAm... on
H.R. 687 is a continuation of an attitude that American Indians are a lesser human being. The Mormon led march/encroachment to "civilize" the Indians in the Southwest includes the complete disregard for American Indian spiritual values. Instead of raising consciousness on the shifty Arizona delegation, elected Native leaders want to worship their Gods in concrete edifices, sound like a European American, and do anything for accepted by "them". Prayer on a pristine mountain unscathed by disciples’ of the God of greed is much more natural. Cochise and Geronimo are still right about the “white devils”.

bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
There is a belief that the copper mine will produce thousands of jobs. But we have seen and read about robots already being used. They do the work of countless humans and do not tire, do not take shift breaks and able to withstand more unbearable temperatures than people. The Rio Tinto upper managers have hung around the nearby small communities and throw bones at their town councils for small-time projects when in actuality they are seething vultures. Environmental damage will come about when millions of gallons of water is contaminated with nowhere to go except downstream. Runoff of winter snow in Arizona is not going to fill the lakes to overflowing and think that underground water is so plentiful that a few million gallons/day is easily acceptable is ludicrous. This trick of tucking a House bill that was already declared dead into a completely unrelated bill is not new. And those who think its economic boost will hoist Arizona out of its deficit are as dumb as the robots that are controlled by others.

tresojos's picture
Submitted by tresojos on
The Republicans, in one of their first statements after taking the majority in both Houses of Congress, promised that this tactic of sneaking their goals into Congressional bills that cannot be filibustered will be a common occurrence. The GOP has always played dirty. In the next 2 years such assaults will be coming fast and thick. As Teddy Roosevelt once said: "Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

chahta ohoyo's picture
chahta ohoyo
Submitted by chahta ohoyo on
and white people classify US as 'sneaky' know that they circle us like vultures always trying to dive in and take another piece, sacred or not...

nicolenesberg's picture
Submitted by nicolenesberg on
Read, sign & share!

100IndigenousAmerican's picture
Submitted by 100IndigenousAm... on
92,116 signatures needed by January 03, 2014; so far, there are only 7,884 to save a sacred place on mother earth. Where are all the "people of prayer" and where are the "brown/red" keepers of the earth? How long do we stay divided? Have your friends and family sign on, let us test our united power.