It’s bad enough for Congresswoman Kirkpatrick (D-1st District, Arizona) to be pushing for the destruction of Oak Flat Campground by two foreign mining companies, but now in an attempt to obfuscate the issue, the Congresswoman is trying to change the name of the project.  Instead of identifying the issue as the Oak Flat land Exchange (or it’s “official” title as the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009) (S 409 and HR 2509), she is now referring to this miscarriage of due process as the Copper Basin Jobs Project.  Taking a page out of her predecessor Rick Renzi’s playbook, this is just another underhanded scheme to rip off our public lands. Please be aware of this attempt to fly under the radar.  This certainly isn’t a jobs project, it’s a land exchange that will make us all poorer!

The new bill number for Kirkpatrick’s bill is HR 4880 and it is nearly identical to the Senate version (S 409) introduced by Senator McCain. Our fact sheets on the original version of S 409 and the new version that was passed by the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

Here is the transcript from the Congressional Record of remarks the Congresswoman made on the Floor of the House of Representatives on February 8th:


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   The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Arizona (Mrs. Kirkpatrick) for 5 minutes.

   Mrs. KIRKPATRICK of Arizona. Madam Speaker, as we face the
challenges of a stalled economy and a record debt, it is critically
important that we find ways to create jobs without spending millions of
dollars. I rise today in support of large scale job creating projects
in greater Arizona that would require Federal action, not Federal
money: the Copper Basin Jobs Project and the Four Forests Restoration

   The Copper Basin Jobs Project will create more than 1,000
well-paying, 21st century jobs in District 1, jump-starting our
recovery and diversifying our economy. The Four Forests Restoration
Initiative would create more than 600 jobs across greater Arizona,
revitalizing key industries while preserving our environment and
protecting our communities from wildfires.

   These projects will produce new opportunities for our
families, and serve as economic engines for my district and the entire
State. They will attract new businesses and investment, creating jobs,
not handouts. That is why they have both earned support from across the
region, across the State, and across party lines.

   Last week I had the opportunity to share the value of these
projects with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. We traveled
across greater Arizona to meet with stakeholders on each project and
visit with folks in the communities that will benefit from these
projects. It was a real milestone for our efforts. Arizonans were able
to make their voices heard on the projects and let the Secretary know
about the positive impact they could have on our economy.

   Along with the communities, I would like to thank the
Secretary for his time. I hope his trip helped him gain a better
understanding of these projects and what they can do for Arizona.
Efforts like these will help in the downturn and get folks back to
work. Creating jobs has to be our top priority. And these projects are
my top priority.