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Save Oak Flat (Access Fund)

Submitted By: John McNamee on Sep 17, 2013


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Arizona climbers need your help! There is a vote scheduled for this Thursday, September 19th in the US House of Representatives on legislation that would trade away the popular Oak Flat climbing area in Arizona to Resolution Copper Mining, a foreign owned mining company. All 435 members of the House of Representatives will have the opportunity to cast a vote on this legislation, yet many of them know little or nothing about the bill--except what the bill sponsors have told them.

If this bill (HR 687) should become law, it will result in the largest loss of a climbing resource in the history of the United States. HR 687 is an example of bad, special interest legislation and passage could establish a terrible precedent. There are major problems with HR 687 that must be addressed before Congress should consider passage:

•HR 687 will lead to the destruction of the popular Oak Flat climbing area in Arizona.

•HR 687 removes an executive withdrawal order that protects Oak Flat from mining—an order put in place by the Eisenhower Administration in 1955.

•HR 687 conveys Oak Flat to the mining company before requiring an environmental analysis as mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. This is completely backwards and would bypass the essence and intent of NEPA.

•HR 687 does not adequately address water issues. The 20,000 acre-feet of water used annually by this mine will likely dewater the adjacent Devil’s Canyon, the premier riparian habitat in Central Arizona.

•HR 687 does not require the mining company to present a solution for the disposal of some 1.6 billion tons of toxic mine tailings before conveying our public land into private ownership.

•HR 687 will lead to the destruction of a Native American sacred site. Oak Flat, Devil’s Canyon and the adjacent Apache Leap are all sacred to the San Carlos Apaches.

•Enacting this legislation will create a de facto template that mining or oil/gas companies can use anywhere in the United States to legislatively bypass NEPA and other well established and accepted protections for our public lands.

For Congress to pass this bill without addressing these outstanding issues would be irresponsible.

Your voice is needed! Your Congressional representative will have the opportunity to cast a vote on this legislation, and we need your help to let him/her know of the many valid reasons to vote “NO” on HR 687.

Please take a moment and call or email your Congressman or Congresswoman today. You may simply send the pre-drafted letter in the template below, however we encourage you to customize the language with the bullet points above and with your own thoughts regarding this legislation.

Email Template


Comments on Save Oak Flat (Access Fund) Add Comment
By Concerned Climbers of Arizona
Sep 19, 2013

There is now a firm date and time set for the floor vote on HR 687. It will be Thursday, September 26th at noon EDT.

majorityleader.gov/floor/9-23-13.pdf

If you haven't done so already, please use the above link and send a letter opposing HR 687 to your Representative prior to September 26th. Thanks for your help--let's keep the pressure on.

By kirra
Sep 20, 2013

Shout Out >> Boulder Comp Champs & future nOOb competitors:
PLEASE HELP SAVE PHOENIX BOULDER COMP ROUTES from DESTRUCTION!!

So easy to send this letter, it takes 2 minutes.

By Brigette
From: Seattle, WA
Oct 29, 2013

FYI: This is the email I just received from my congresswoman here in southwestern Washington in response to the letter that I sent prior to the vote in September:

October 28, 2013

Dear Brigette,

Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 687, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013. It is an honor to represent the people of Southwest Washington, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

As you may know, H.R. 687 was introduced by Representative Paul Gosar on February 2, 2013. This legislation would facilitate the extraction of mineral resources in southeast Arizona. It is estimated that his mine could provide one-fourth of our nation's annual copper needs. Increasing development of our own U.S. copper resources will grow our economy, generate billions in revenue and strengthen our national security.

On September 26, the full House of Representatives began debate and consideration of amendments to the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013. Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind when we vote on passage of H.R. 687.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. I invite you to visit my website at www.jaimehb.house.gov for additional information or to sign up to be kept up to date on these issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Jaime Herrera Beutler
Member of Congress