Please contact your Members of Congress to pass the Save Oak Flat Act
On January 17, 2019, 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.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced S 173, the Senate version of the Save Oak Flat Act with four cosponsors, Senators Warren (D-MA), Merkley (D-OR), Wyden (D-OR), Heinrich (D-NM), and Booker (D-NJ).
Please contact your Representative asking him/her to cosponsor HR 665 and your Senators to cosponsor S 173. (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.
Resolution Copper, wholly owned by the world’s two largest mining companies (Rio Tinto and BHP), want 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 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 in December of 2014. 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.
The Tonto National Forest released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in August of 2019. Although the DEIS is incomplete, it shows in detail just how devastating the project would be to Oak Flat. The DEIS shows that the mine project proposed by Resolution Copper would:
- Use more water annually that the city of Tempe, AZ (at least 50,000 Acre-feet per year);
- Dry up at least 16 sacred springs;
- Permanently destroy up to 16,000 acres of federal public land, Arizona State trust lands, and private land;
- Permit toxic tailings waste dumps that would be illegal in Brazil, Ecuador, and China.
PS: if you are in Washington, DC, on March 11, attend a rally to protect Oak Flat.