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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.

Ask the President to Veto the National Defense Authorization Act


Yesterday, December 12, the US Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The Defense bill contains the Oak Flat land exchange.

Please contact President Obama and ask him to veto the NDAA.  This is our only step left to stop the land exchange from becoming law.

You've taken action many time to help protect Oak Flat and I'm asking you now to take action one more time to protect Oak Flat.

There are so many reasons that attaching the land exchange to the NDAA is a terrible idea.  But let's face it, RIo Tinto's supporters knew that this was there last best chance to give Oak Flat to a giant foreign mining company.  

Every day we were learning more about how critical Oak Flat is for religious freedom and environmental protection and Rio Tinto knew they needed to act fast.  So, they buried the land exchange deep in a anrelated bill.

Let our President know that the NDAA must be vetoed until the Oak Flat land exchange is removed.

Take action now.

After you have sent your letter to President Obama, also sign a petition asking the President to stop this Apache land grab.

New Oak Flat land exchange language is a non-starter

Rio Tinto's supporters changed the language of the Oak Flat land exchange in an attempt to make it more palatable fortheir colleagues and to curry additional support when they attached it as a rider to the  National Defense Authorization Act.  The Oak Flat land exchange is buried the defense bill (Page 1103 of the 1,600 page bill) as section 3003.  The bill has passed the House of Represenatives, but has not yet come up for a vote in the Senate.

One of Rio Tinto's supporters even went to far to imply that the Director of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition is OK with the changes in the bill.  He knows better, and of course, nothing could be further from the truth.  The langauge changes are mostly greenwashing and are still a far cry from what is needed to protect Oak Flat.

We have prepared a fact sheet explaining why the changes in the bill fall far short of the mark.

Take a look at the fact sheet.

There is still time to contact your Senators and ask them to strip the Oak Flat land exchange from the National Defense Authorization Act.  For more information about how you can take action, go here.

Contact the Senate to remove Oak Flat land exchange from the National Defense Authorization Act

Contact your Senators today to remove the Oak Flat land exchange from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

In a highly controversial move last week, the US House of Representatives buried the Oak Flat land exchange deep in the House version of the NDAA. For 10 years, the land exchange has failed to be become law for very good reasons:

  • It is the only bill before the US Congress that would give a Native American Sacred site on public land to a foreign mining company;
  • It would mean the largest loss of recreational rock climbing opportunities on public land
  • And it bypasses the normal process of permitting mines on public land.   

President Eisenhower placed Oak Flat off limits to mining 60 year ago and it remains an ecological, spiritual and recreational haven.

In spite of the will of Congress not to pass the Oak Flat land exchange, its supporters snuck the bill into the defense bill (Section 3003 on page 1103 of a 1,600 page bill). The language of the bill was changed, but is still completely unacceptable.

Please contact your Senator immediately and ask him/her to remove Section 3003, (the new number for the Oak Flat land exchange) and to pass a clean Defense bill.

Act now to stop the Oak Flat land exchange

Congress has returned for a final session and some Senators may attempt to bundle the Oak Flat Land Exchange, S. 339, with other bills that deal with public lands.  

Most of these bill are good bills, but adding the Oak Flat land exchange to the package would poison the entire bill.

S. 339 is a land exchange that foreign-owned Rio Tinto mining company has convinced Arizona members of Congress to introduce on their behalf, a giveaway of land that is sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe. The bill would be the only bill in Congress that would give away a sacred site to a foreign corporation, would be the largest loss of recreational climbing on public lands, and would overturn a ban on mining at Oak Flat that was put in place by President Eisenhower.

This is nothing new. At the end of every Congress, Rio Tinto's supporters in Congress try to bypass normal procedure by attaching the land exchange to an unrelated piece of legislation.  They know they cannot pass the land exchange in the light of day, so they resort to these behind the scenes maneuvers.  

We've helped to stop this bill before, now we need your help to do it again!

Tell your Senator that privatizing federally protected lands and turning them over to a foreign mining corporation without federal environmental review or public input isn't right. Sacred sites, recreation and the sensitive ecological area surrounding Oak Flat are more important than a copper mine.

Tell your Senator to save Oak Flat from foreign mining companies!

Mount Graham Sacred Run Culminates at Oak Flat

The 23rd annual Mount Graham sacred run will take place this weekend on July 18 and 19.  The run will start near the top of Mount Graham on Friday July 18 and arrive at Oak Flat campground late afternoon on Friday.

Saturday, July 19th will be a day of Ceremony and prayer to celebrate the sacredness of Oak Flat and Mount Graham.

The run is being coordinated by the Spirit of the Mountain Runners, who are native peoples and their supporters committed to maintaining a traditional Native American way of life.  

All are welcome to come to Oak Flat Campground (just east of Superior off of Highway 60 -- follow the signs from Highway 60 to the campground).Oak Flat Sunrise DanceOak Flat Sunrise Dance

Schedule of events for Saturday:

8:00     Morning Blessing and Ceremony
11:00   Tribal leaders speak
12:00   Lunch
1:30     Speakers from all walks of life
4:00     Church service by Emmanuel Baptist Church Rev.
             Mendez from Winston Salem, NC
7:30     Social dancing

For more information see the press advisory.

You can follow the progress of the run by going to our twitter feed @Save_Oak_Flat

Coalition Scoping Comments Filed

Rio Tinto Proposed Tailings LocationRio Tinto Proposed Tailings LocationThe Arizona Mining Reform Coalition filed comments today to the US Forest Service (Tonto National Forest) on Rio Tinto's invasive testing plan for their proposed tailings location near Oak Flat.  According to Rio Tinto's current plans, this is the only location they are actively considering for dumping a Picket Post sized mountain of toxic tailings should they be allowed to mine under Oak Flat.

The comments were filed on behalf of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Access Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity, Concerned Citizens and Retired Miners Coalition, Concerned Climbers of Arizona, Earthworks, Environment Arizona, the Maricopa Audubon Society, Native Youth Unite, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, Sierra Club -- Grand Canyon Chapter, Spirit of the Mountain Runners, Tucson Audubon Society, John Krieg and Roger Featherstone. 

Here is a copy of the comments.

Among the hundreds of comments were those submitted by the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, and the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.

Rio Tinto Incomplete Mining Plan

Proposed Toxic Tailings SiteProposed Toxic Tailings Site

For nearly ten years, Rio Tinto has avoided divulging any real details of its proposed huge underground block cave mine under Oak Flat.  Instead, Rio Tinto has spent their time trying to convince the US Congress to pass special interest legislation that would privatize Oak Flat and avoid most of the federal process for permitting mine on public land.

Last November, in an effort to revive their floundering 12 version of the Oak Flat land exchange bill, Rio Tinto bowed to pressure from both sides, and released a mining plan.  Rio Tinto's PR since the release of the plan has been "we gave you the plan, now give us the land exchange."  

Please donate now to help us in 2014

Please make a charitable contribution to the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition.

Last year was a good year for us, but there is much more to do in 2014.  We need your financial support.  Please make a donation to the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition so we can continue our work to protect Oak Flat, the Santa Rita Mountains, and Arizona’s many lands and waters threatened by inappropriate  mining projects.

We have accomplished much in 2013:

Rio Tinto to release incomplete mining plan in ploy to force land exchange bill

Rio Tinto plans to submit a mining plan of operations to the US Forest Service early next week regarding their dream of building a mine at Oak Flat.  Curiously, Rio Tinto has stated that the plan will not be available to the public until next year!

Rio Tinto has gone to great lengths to avoid filing a plan since 2004, opting instead to cajole the US Congress to pass a bill giving them Oak Flat without detailing how destructive a mine at Oak Flat would be to sacred, ecologically critical, and recreationally important lands. 

The submitting of the plan is timed to jump start HR 687 in the US House of Representatives, which was stalled in October when the bill was poised for a vote on the House floor but was pulled by the House leadership.  The bill’s sponsors in the House were worried that the Lujan amendment (which forbids the Secretary of Agriculture from giving any sacred lands at Oak Flat to Rio Tinto) would pass, effectively scuttling the land exchange itself. The US Senate has scheduled a hearing on the Senate version of the bill, S 339 for November 20.

HR 687 to be voted on by House today. Act now to stop the bill!

HR 687 is scheduled to come to the House floor today, November 13.  Oak Flat (Please help us protect it!)Oak Flat (Please help us protect it!)

Please contact your Representative now and ask him/her to vote YES on the Lujan amendment to HR 687 and to vote NO on the Oak Flat land exchange (HR 687).

The Lujan amendment would prevent the Secretary of Agriculture from giving any sacred land to RIo Tinto.

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Dr. Radut