The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 would facilitate the development of an underground copper mine that will create new American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy and minerals, and generate revenue for federal and state treasuries. In addition, the measure would transfer environmentally sensitive lands into federal stewardship. This legislation is not only a jobs bill, it's a conservation bill. The lands the federal government acquires in the exchange are highly-coveted recreational and conservation areas.
Click HERE to view Rep. Gosar's PowerPoint presentation from the Superior Town Hall on September 20, 2013, which provides an extensive overview of this legislation.
Status of the Legislation
U.S. House of Representatives
- February 14, 2013: Reps. Paul Gosar, Ann Kirkpatrick, Matt Salmon, David Schweikert, and Trent Franks introduced H.R.687.
- H.R.687 is referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
- March 21, 2013: House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing in Washington, DC on H.R.687. READ MORE
- May 15, 2013: House Natural Resources Committee advanced H.R.687, by a bipartisan vote, to the full U.S. House of Representatives. READ MORE
July 22, 2013 – House Natural Resources Committee filed the committee report on H.R.687, making the bill eligible for consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives. Click HERE to read the House Natural Resources Committee Report on the bill.
- February 14, 2013: Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake introduced S.339.
- Referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
- November 20, 2013: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing scheduled. Click HERE for details.
Letters of Support
This land exchange has strong bipartisan support across the State of Arizona, and below are letters from town, county, and state representatives in support of the bill (Click to view each).
Gila County Supervisor Michael Pastor (D) Letter of Support
Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin (R) Letter of Support
Gila County Supervisor John Marcanti (D) Letter of Support
Gila County Board of Supervisors Resolution of Support
Pinal County Board of Supervisors Resolution of Support
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Resolution of Support
Arizona State Government
Governor Jan Brewer (R) Letter of Support
Senate President Andy Biggs (R) Letter of Support
State Sen Barb McGuire (D) - Letter of Support
State Rep. Frank Pratt (R) Letter of Support
State Rep. TJ Shoppe (R) Proclamation of Support
State Rep. Brenda Barton (R) Letter of Support.
Bicameral Arizona Legislature Letter of Support
City of Mesa Letter of Support
City of Apache Junction Letter of Support
City of Globe Resolution of Support
Town of Payson Town Council Resolution of Support
Town of Kearny Resolution of Support
Town of Winkelman Resolution of Support
Town of Miami Resolution of Support
Mayor of the Town Payson Kenny J. Evans
Mayor of Globe Terence Wheeler Letter of Support
Superior City Councilman John Tameron Letter of Support
Former Superior Councilman and local business owner Lynn Heglie Letter of Support
Bullhead City Council Member Sam Medrano Letter of Support
Superior City Councilwoman Mila Besich-Lira
Former Chairman of the San Carlos Tribe Harrison Talgo
Arizona Game and Fish Commission Unanimous Vote of Support
Queen Creek Climbers Association Letter of Support
The Nature Conservency Letter
The Sonoran Institute
Arizona Business Community
Arizona Chamber of Commerce Letter of Support
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Letter of Support
Globe Miami Chamber of Commerce Letter of Support
Valley Partnership Letter of Support
East Valley Partnership Letter of Support
Greater Phoenix Economic Council Letter of Support
Greater Phoenix Leadership Letter of Support
Science Foundation Arizona Letter of Support
WestMarc Letter of Support
Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition Letter of Support
Arizona Rock Products Association Letter of Support
Arizona Mining Association Letter of Support
Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors Letter of Support
Sundt Construction - Letter of Support
Arizona Trucking Association Letter of Support
National Business Community
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
American Supply Association Letter of Support
American Clean Energy Resources Trust Letter of Support
Associated General Contractors of America Letter of Support
Northwest Mining Association
National Mining Association
National Association of Manufacturers
Other Letters of Support
Central Arizona Governments Regional Council Resolution of Support
Arizona Commerce Authority Letter of Support
Superior Unified School District Letter of Support
Town of Superior Little League Letter of Support
Gila County Democrat Party Resolution of Support
Cobre Valley Democrats Vote of Support
Phoenix Indian Center Letter of Support
Superior Copper Alliance
A full list of supporters and their full letters of support from similar legislation in the 112th Congress can be found here: http://gosar.house.gov/HR1904BusinessSupport
Video from the House Natural Resources Committee of the 113th Congress
The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 (H.R. 687) was considered by the House Natural Resources Committee in late March. Below is Congressman Gosar's opening statement from the hearing.
A few members of the Superior Town Council inexplicably reversed their position on the copper mine. Representative Gosar questioned Ms. Soyla "Kiki" Peralta of the Superior Town Council at the hearing on his major jobs bill (see below).
The Importance of Copper
Copper is a critical metal used in the production of electronics, transportation, machinery, and renewable energy technologies, among other uses. Increased American copper mining will create thousands of jobs, and increase economic activity.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. demand for copper – used heavily in building construction, electric and electronic products, industrial machinery, and consumer goods – is on the rise; So much so that the U.S. now relies on foreign sources to provide 35 percent of the copper we consume. For a chart on the U.S. dependence on foreign critical minerals click HERE.
If passed, H.R.687 would allow for the production of more than 1 billion pounds of copper per year for at least 40 years. That would be enough to meet 25 percent or more of the annual U.S. demand for copper. By taking advantage of American sources of copper, we can prevent supply disruptions and increased dependence of foreign mineral imports.
Protecting Apache Leap
Congressman Gosar strongly believes that Apache Leap, an iconic area for the region, must be protected. In fact, the long term preservation of Apache Leap is one of the purposes of the land exchange. Unfortunately, the opposition to the bill and the project have attempted to distort the facts and claim that the bill jeopardizes its existence.
The Truth: the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act puts policies in place to protect Apache Leap in perpetuity.
The bill protects Apache Leap more so than the current management situation by…
- Conveying 110 acres of Apache Leap, currently owned by Resolution Copper, to the Forest Service - Sec.5(a)E
- Explicitly prohibiting any type of extraction activity at Apache Leap – Sec.5(c)
- Withdrawing Apache Leap and any land acquired by the United States under this Act - Sec.7
- requiring the Secretary to “…manage Apache Leap to…preserve the natural character and…protect archeological and cultural resources…” – Sec.8
We are strongly committed to ensuring the Interior Department upholds these provisions once they become law and protects Apache Leap forever.
This legislation shows we can protect our land and water, and have a strong economy with good jobs. It conserves lands by protecting wildlife habitat, cultural and historic resources, the watershed, recreation sites and aesthetic values. Furthermore, it enables an important mining project to go forward, which will generate economic and employment opportunities for state and local residents. Some of the high-value conservation lands include:
7B Ranch – Pinal County, Arizona – 3,073-acres within the San Pedro ecosystem, designated by the Nature Conservancy as one of the “Last Great Places on Earth” and the Forest Service testified that this property was “priceless.” Home to a free-flowing artesian spring fed wetland populated by lowland leopard frogs, nesting birds, and native fish. In addition, this parcel is recognized by BirdLife International as an “Important Bird Area.” The conveyance of this land would be an important addition to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
Appleton Ranch – Santa Cruz County, Arizona – 956-acres adjacent to a congressionally established conservation area that are home to 200 species of birds, 60 species of mammals, more than 90 species of native grass, and 480 native plant species. The acquisition of the ranch will eliminate non-federal lands that are intermingled with the conservation area, providing for a more economically efficient management of the area.
Dripping Springs – Gila County, Arizona – 160 acres identified by national rock climbers as a significant rock climbing resource.
Tangle Creek – Yavapai County, Arizona - 148 acres recognized for having both pre-historic and historic value. It is believed that the property was important Native American farming land in the 1800s and features a variety of trees and shrubs which are believed to be over 100 years old.
7B Ranch Tangle Creek
San Carlos Apache Tribe
As you may know, the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Tribal Council has been the most outspoken to this land exchange. While in Congress, I have tried to work through many of the concerns and provide facts that correct a lot of the misinformation and misperception that has been spread about my bill and the Resolution Copper Mine.
Here is a letter I sent to the Tribal Council addressing many of their concerns, correcting the record, and reasserting my commitment to engage with them on this land exchange: Letter Responding to San Carlos Tribe Concerns on SE AZ Land Exchange
(Former Tribal Chairman Harrison Talgo testifying in support of the land exchange)
It is important to note that the population of the San Carlos Apache Tribe is not united in their opposition to the bill. Last year, former Tribal Chairman Harrison Talgo testified before the House Natural Resources Committee in SUPPORT of the bill. In his testimony, he stated…
The issue today is not about our reservation land, our sovereignty, our heritage, our self respect – these are not for sale. This is about putting our people – a lot of people – to work. I believe economic development should be our leadership’s top priority.
Because many members of the San Carlos Apache Nation are dependent on the tribal government for food, utilities, and a limited number of available jobs, they often do not speak out against Council decisions in fear of losing those benefits. I am not afraid to speak out. I can assure you I do not stand alone as a member of the San Carlos Apache Nation in support of the Resolution Copper Mine and the jobs and prosperity it will create. I made personal phone calls to many people within my community of 2,000 tribal members and the majority of them responded in favor of this project.
What National Leaders Have Said
Holly Propst, Executive Director / General Counsel of the Western Business Roundtable
"This legislation – which involves a series of land exchanges – presents a “win-win” opportunity for federal land managers, Arizona’s economy and the American taxpayers. The Roundtable views the legislation as an outstanding example of how, with a bit of ingenuity, the public and private sectors can work together to advance the goals of domestic minerals development and environmental conservation."
Paul A. Yost, Vice President, Energy and Resources Policy National Association of Manufacturers praised Congressman Gosar for his work on this important piece of legislation, saying “This legislation will be the first step in helping the United States to meet more of our domestic demand for copper. In fact, the proposed mine would produce enough copper to meet about 25% of the current U.S. demand. In doing so, it will also create jobs and generate nearly $20 billion in federal, state, county and local tax revenue.”
Hal Quinn President & CEO of the National Mining Association
“This land exchange is necessary to protect the global competitiveness of the U.S. mining industry and will provide high-paying jobs and improve a weakened economy.”
For additional information on this legislation please call the Congressman's Washington D.C. Office at (202) 225 2315