On June 15, 2017, the Save Oak Flat Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. The Bills would repeal Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 and keep Oak Flat in public ownership.
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the US House version, HR 2915, with 30 cosponsors from both parties.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced S 1375, the Senate version of the Save Oak Flat Act with four cosponsors, Senators Merkley (D-OR), Wyden (D-OR), Heinrich (D-NM), and Booker (D-NJ).
The success of the Save Oak Fat Act is very important for the protection of Oak Flat.
Please contact your Representative asking him/her to cosponsor HR 2915 and your Senators to cosponsor S 1375. (If your Congressional delegation members are already cosponsors, please thank him/her for helping to protect Oak Flat).
Oak Flat is critical for the religious freedom of Native Americans and is an ecological and recreational haven. Oak Flat is located 60 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona and is public land managed by the Tonto National Forest.
Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies, wants to privatize Oak Flat to build a copper mine, destroying Oak Flat in the process. Rio Tinto’s Congressional supporters had been unsuccessful 12 times over the past ten years to give Oak Flat to Rio Tinto, but managed to attach the Oak Flat land exchange to the National Defense Authorization Act in the dead of night last December. The land exchange, which would give Oak Flat to Rio Tinto upon completion of an “environmental” study, is Section 3003 of the massive defense bill.
Rio Tinto’s mining plan for Oak Flat is currently being analyzed by the US Forest Service with public input. The more the public learns about Rio Tinto’s planned block cave mine at Oak Flat and the associated 5,000 plus acres of public land that would be permanently destroyed by a toxic waste dump and other mine facilities, the more convinced we become that this project is not feasible and must be stopped.
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