EARTHWORKS

Oak Flat/Apache Leap dodge a final bullet: protected from mining until next year.

Alan Septoff's avatar
By Alan Septoff

December 23, 2010

I wrote earlier this week that Oak Flat and Apache Leap had been successfully defended from a land swap that would have seen this publicly-owned special place (places, really) transferred into the hands of the Resolution Copper partnership so that it could be mined. 

Resolution Copper is a partnership of two of the largest mining companies in the world:  BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto -- a pair that doesn't need any special favors.

Well, that wasn't the end of the story.

The land swap was resurrected when Senator Reid put it on the unanimous consent calendar packaged with a bunch of other public land initiatives.  [You might be thinking: "but nothing in the Senate gets unanimous consent!?"  Well, you'd be wrong -- there's actually bunches of things  passed by "UC".]

But, in irony of ironies, the Resolution Copper land transfer (and the rest of the public land initiatives) was killed when Senators McCain and Kyl (R-AZ) both objected to another aspect of the public lands package.  In effect, the co-sponsors of the land swap killed it. [link is to subscription-only article]

Congress has now adjourned for the year.  So Apache Leap and Oak Flat are safe at least until the new Congress begins work.

 

Tagged with: rio tinto, resolution copper, oak flat, john mccain, john kyl, bhp billiton, apache leap

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