Take Action! Help Stop the Destruction of Oak Flat
The proposed expansion of the Resolution Copper mine is much in the news. The FEIS concerns the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) proposed land swap of the Oak Fat campground and Apache Leap to the mine. From 2009 to 2015, SAA, Native American Tribes, and numerous preservation groups fought against this project, which, if finalized, will result in the destruction of Oak Flat campground; Apache Leap, which is sacred to many Tribes including the San Carlos Apache; and hundreds of National Register-eligible archaeological sites.
Unfortunately, the late Senator McCain included a “land swap” in the 2015 National Defense Authorization bill opening these sites to copper mining. This legislation requires the USFS, no later than 60 days upon the completion of an EIS and issuance of the Record of Decision (ROD), to exchange this sensitive land with Resolution Copper for certain properties in the southwest that the company owns, regardless of the results of the EIS. Resolution Copper has stated that it will take precautions to protect Oak Flat and Apache Leap, but the firm is in fact partially owned by Rio Tinto, the global mining conglomerate that deliberately destroyed the Juu’kan Gorge site in Australia, a group of rockshelters that date back to 46,000 years ago and is sacred to Aboriginal peoples there.