April 13, 2021 –
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1884, the Save Oak Flat Act. This legislation, sponsored by Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), would prevent any mineral development in the Oak Flat area and repeal a land exchange that was previously enacted by Congress and signed into law by former President Barack Obama.
“Yet again, Democrats are attempting to shut down lawful, essential mineral production here in the U.S. The Resolution Copper Mine project has gone through years of environmental reviews, included extensive input from tribal and local leaders, and was already signed into law. But we were back at a hearing today relitigating a settled issue. While committee Democrats attempt to hamstring domestic mineral production, the harsh reality is our global demand for minerals – like the copper the mine in question would produce – will skyrocket as we expand renewable energy projects. I hope my colleagues will stop preventing the development of minerals needed for the green energy projects they claim to support.” – House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)
“Another day, another attempt by Democrats to kill jobs and deepen our dependence on foreign sources for critical minerals while overturning years of studies and lengthy reviews spanning the two previous administrations.” – U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)
The Resolution Copper project is a proposed copper mine located near the town of Superior, Ariz., on lands within the Tonto National Forest. Bipartisan legislation providing for a land exchange to facilitate development of the mine project had been introduced in the House and Senate since the 109th Congress. The land exchange was formally signed into law by Obama in December 2014 as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which provided for the exchange of 2,422 acres of U.S. Forest Service land (known as the Oak Flat parcel) for eight land parcels throughout Arizona, totaling 5,376 acres owned by Resolution Copper.
Public engagement on the Resolution Copper project has been occurring almost continuously since 2011. Before and during the submission of the original plan of operations in 2013 and through the legislative process authorizing the land exchange, Resolution Copper engaged in extensive and ongoing consultation with the United States Forest Service, local tribes, non-governmental organizations, local elected officials and other stakeholders. Public comment and tribal input has directly led to multiple changes from the original mine plan.
Despite these rigorous protections and extensive tribal and local input, Natural Resources Committee Democrats continue opposing the mine’s opening. Unfortunately, their opposition ignores the fact that global copper demand for electric vehicles and the expansion of renewable energy capacity is projected to rise to 1.5 million tons by 2025 and 3.3 million tons by 2030. The proposed Resolution Copper mine is estimated to be one of the world’s largest untapped copper deposits, which could meet up to 25 percent of U.S. domestic copper demand. The project is estimated to annually support 3,700 jobs, produce nearly $1 billion in economic value in Arizona, and $200 million in federal tax revenues for an estimated 40 years.
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