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The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition is comprised of Arizona groups and individuals that work to ensure that responsible mining contributes to healthy communities, a healthy environment, and, when all costs are factored in, is a net benefit to Arizona. The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition expects the mining industry to clean up after itself, comply fully with the spirit of safeguards in place to protect Arizona, and to interact in a transparent and open manner with Arizona citizens.

San Carlos Apache Press Release on S 409 Mark-up

Please read the press statement released by the San Carlos Apache Tribe on the mark -up of S 409 on Wendsday, December 16th, 2009.

Oak Flat Land Exchange Sneak Attack Successful

Well folks, it's official.  The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee would rather give another handout to a foreign mining consortium worth $300 Billion than to protecting the religious freedom or the natural treasures of this country.

Today, by a voice vote and without debate The Committee passed S 409 as amended along with 31 other bills despite knowing that the compromise between Senator Bingaman and Senator McCain did not pass muster from taxpayers, Native Americans, climbers, or conservationists.  To get the job done Senator Bingaman and Senator McCain resorted to backroom horse-trading and maneuvers instead of doing the people's business in the light of day.

Please contact your Senators on the Committee and express your disappointment and stay tuned for ways you can help stop this government handout on the Senate floor and in the House.

There will be campaign corks popping in the corporate headquarters of Rio Tinto in London and BHP in Australia, but to put things in perspective, these mining giants have had an army of paid lobbyists and PR hacks working this legislation since 2004 and this is the first time they've gotten a bill out of committee.  Who says the average Joe or Jane can't make a difference?

Grijalva Calls for Investigation into Rio Tinto Human Rights Record

The following statement was released by Congressman Grijalva today on human rights violations by Rio Tinto and the Oak Flat land exchange.

Grijalva Calls For Full Investigation of Rio Tinto Human Rights Record Before Lucrative Mining Land Swap

Wednesday December 16, 2009

Washington, DC - Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today questioned the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s decision to vote on the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009 without investigating the poor human rights record – including alleged illegal payments to a foreign army – of the bill’s main beneficiary, mining conglomerate Rio Tinto.

The bill grants Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton,a lucrative land swap in central Arizona that would give the company mining rights it values at approximately $140 billion over the mine’s projected life span. The company would receive the title to land previously removed from mining activities by President Eisenhower’s administration. Read more »

Stop Oak Flat Land Exchange in Senate

Gaan Canyon Vegetation and WaterGaan Canyon Vegetation and WaterYour action is needed now to stop a compromise on the Oak Flat land exchange bill (S. 409) that is schedule to be marked up in the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on December 16th along with 35 other bills.

This remarkable display of speed was brought about by a deal cut between Senator John McCain of Arizona who has been championing Rio Tinto’s special interest legislation to help him get re-elected to the Senate next year, and Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

Although Senator Bingaman promised Tribal leaders in a meeting following the Bill’s hearing in June that he would consult with them before any movement of the bill, this deal was struck without input from the Tribes.  In fact, bill language was only shared to a few select groups and then only at the strong insistence to see language and after a promise was extracted not to share the language widely.

What we do know about this deal is troubling.

Please contact members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee and ask them to oppose any consideration of this amendment.

Mines Top Arizona Toxics List

According to the US EPA, Arizona mines are once again Arizona's biggest polluters.  Each year, the EPA releases it's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data for each state.  This inventory, required by law since 1987, tallies pollution released into our air, water, and ground.  These releases are not verified independently and come form the companies themselves, so the figures are probably conservative.

For 2008, 7 out of the top 10 polluters in Arizona are mines.  The report shows that toxic release in Arizona increased by 7% in 2008 while the national average dropped 6%.  The Arizona figures do not include billions of pounds of tailings that Congress exempted from the reporting requirements.

Oak Flat Land Exchange Double Threat

Gaan Canyon VegetationGaan Canyon VegetationYour action is needed now to stop a serious attempt by Rio Tinto and their allies in the US House and Senate from moving HR 2509 and S 409. In the Senate, Energy & Natural Resource Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman and Arizona Senator John McCain are trying to work out a compromise bill. In the House, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick is attempting to convince House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move HR 2509.

In the House, please contact Representative Ann Kirkpatrick and remind her why HR 2509 is a bad idea.  Also contact House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and tell her why HR 2509 is special interest legislation that gives a huge subsidy to foreign mining companies that already make billions of dollars in profits every year.

In the Senate, please contact Senator McCain and Senator Bingaman and tell them "no backroom deals." Senator McCain has bullied Senator Bingaman to the point that he is willing to compromise, but he needs to stick to his guns to protect the land, religious freedom, and the normal process we use to permit mines.

1872 Mining Law Reform

In January, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) introduced the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009, HR 699. The bill is the same bill that passed the House of Representatives on November 1, 2007.Reform is needed to stop irresponsible minesReform is needed to stop irresponsible minesThis bill would be a huge help not only to our environmental and our communities, but would help our western economy as well. View a fact sheet about this bill prepared by EARTHWORKS, one of our Coalition member groups. The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition supports the passage of this bill.

On April 2, S. 796, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009, was introduced in the US Senate by Senator Bingaman (D-NM). This bill does not go nearly as far to protect our public lands as the House version and the Coalition, while recognizing that the bill is a huge improvement does not support the bill. View the Coalition's fact sheet on S. 796.

A hearing on S 796 and S 140 (View the Coalition's fact sheet on S. 140), a mine reclamation bill intoduced by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) was held on July 14 in front of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. View the written testimony submitted by the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition for the hearing record.

No Action on No Action

Save the Scenic Santa RitasSave the Scenic Santa RitasThe Coronado National Forest announced recently that they will not consider a "no action" alternative in writing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Rosemont mine. The draft, expected out late this year, should include a robust no action alternative that lays out clearly the current status quo in the Santa Rita mountains and what would be lost if a mine were approved.

Congresswoman Giffords and Congressman Grijalva, our southern Arizona Congressional Representatives, have written a letter to the Forest Service expressing their dismay for this decision and urging the Coronado National Forest to reconsider. View a copy of the letter.

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