Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

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CannondaleKid
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Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by CannondaleKid » Nov 04 2014 10:14 am

While I truly hate politics and politicians, this has got my goat...
:SB:
Anybody been keeping up with the scrub-land for Oak Flat land exchange between Resolution Copper and the US Government?
Namely: H.R. 687 - Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

There may be a Land Exchange taking place but I don't believe Conservation has anything to do with it. Maybe conservation of $$ for Resolution Copper, or more accurately, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, two of the largest mining companies in the world (English & Australian), who just happen to be partnering with an up-and-coming Chinese mining company.

Between the billions of gallons of water necessary for this type of mining along with the monstrous hole in the ground that will eventually form when the 7,000-foot deep 'cave' collapses in 25-30 years, I may be dead and gone by the (and possibly so will the legislators who vote for it) but I don't believe it's a good thing.

If interested, you can read the whole bill here: (all two pages of it so I would hope it is a summary)
http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44416
Check out all the vague language in the document...

"Enacting the legislation could increase offsetting receipts..."
What? Vote on the unknown, sounds like a good idea? NOT!

"If the property sought by Resolution Copper is appraised at more than the appraised value of the property that the company offers for exchange, the company could donate additional land or make a cash payment to the United States."
COULD?! This should read MUST!

If the company’s property is appraised for more than the federal acreage, the difference in the value would be considered a donate to the federal government"
What?! So they can write more off their taxes?? Oh wait... And further what taxes will come to the US and Arizona out of it anyway? The employee's?

"In addition, after completion of the exchange, Resolution Copper would have to pay the federal government a portion of any future income earned on the former federal property if the company determines that the actual cumulative production of minerals located on that property exceeds the value of the estimated production used in the original appraisal process."
Again, shouldn't the US Government or an independent organization make this determination and NOT the company who will benefit if (when) they understate the value?

"Therefore, we cannot determine whether the company would make a payment or estimate the size of any such payment."
So much for having valid information to make an informed decision to vote for against this bill.

While Senator McCain visited the current mine and got the two-bit propaganda tour, what he needs to do is go look at the scrub-land that Resolution wants to trade for Oak Flat. From what I've seen of it it isn't fit for recreation anything like the Oak Flat area.

Oh well, if it gets passed then in 25-30 years maybe the monstrous hole in the ground that forms could be called the Gosar/Flake/McCain Meteor Crater... after all, we Arizonans won't know what hit us until too late.

:M2C:
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blisterfree
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by blisterfree » Jan 13 2015 3:54 pm

I'm increasingly of the belief that this mine will never happen. It may still face too many regulatory hurdles and, of course, major up-front development costs prior to production, to maintain shareholder confidence, especially in the face of a global economic slow-down. Yes, Resolution will ultimately own the land, at great peril to public access, but I just can't fathom this ever getting to the point where we're left staring at Meteor Crater II outside Superior AZ. The public's tacit expectation of environmental protection vs the "traditional" views of laissez-faire economic development will only get more contentious in future decades, and there are a thousand ways the former can rear up to bite the latter in the behind, simply of the latter's own doing. The notion of prosperity does not exist in a vacuum.

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 13 2015 5:29 pm

blisterfree wrote:I'm increasingly of the belief that this mine will never happen. It may still face too many regulatory hurdles and, of course, major up-front development costs prior to production, to maintain shareholder confidence, especially in the face of a global economic slow-down. Yes, Resolution will ultimately own the land, at great peril to public access, but I just can't fathom this ever getting to the point where we're left staring at Meteor Crater II outside Superior AZ. The public's tacit expectation of environmental protection vs the "traditional" views of laissez-faire economic development will only get more contentious in future decades, and there are a thousand ways the former can rear up to bite the latter in the behind, simply of the latter's own doing. The notion of prosperity does not exist in a vacuum.
This is a very articulate comment, and hopeful to boot. I appreciate the time you took to write it, and sincerely hope that the future proves you right.
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by RedRoxx44 » Jan 13 2015 6:10 pm

http://resolutioncopper.com/the-project ... nd-mining/

They have a 40 year plan in place for this mine, unless copper crashes or they fail I would say it is a slow inevitability. They are over 6K feet deep in the no 10 shaft, the main for the project. They'll have some challenges all right ( on the site read about the problems encountered in the shaft).

Brian and I have been pretty deep in the old no 9 main shaft and it was a hot mutha; some nasty sulfide gasses with some dead bats etc. Those old guys were tough mining in those conditions in the original magma mine.

http://resolutioncopper.com/in-the-news ... ine-shaft/

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by blisterfree » Jan 13 2015 7:00 pm

Ultimately, I want to believe Highway 60 is just too close, that public scrutiny will be too great, and significant pressures other than the geophysical kind will eventually come to bear on Resolution.

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by CannondaleKid » Jan 13 2015 8:40 pm

blisterfree wrote:Ultimately, I want to believe Highway 60 is just too close
I take it you haven't seen any of the proposed options for the re-routing of US 60 when it goes to a 4-lane divided highway... if I recall correctly, the route with the highest likelihood bypasses Superior well to the north.
Check out the proposed route A-2 on page 22 in this AZ-DOT pdf:
Scoping Report - US 60 Superior to Globe
Attachments
scoping-report.pdf
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by blisterfree » Jan 13 2015 11:42 pm

A future town of Superior without US 60 running through it. Now that's rich! Good luck with that one, folks. Only the state of Arizona could bank a town's fortunes more exclusively on the boom-and-bust copper mining cycle than it was to begin with.

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 14 2015 10:37 am

Rio Tinto is the parent company and they've been doing this successfully since the 1870's. It will unfortunately happen.
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by blisterfree » Jan 14 2015 1:28 pm

@Tough_Boots One could say the same thing about Hudbay and Rosemont, but I beg to differ. Environmental groups just won a victory in blocking the Sunnyside drilling project on the Coronado south of Patagonia, which could set a precedent. Oak Flat is obviously a different beast in some important ways, but I wouldn't rule out a weak cog somewhere in the machinery, fit for a wooden shoe. To sit back and accept "the so-called inevitable" is to increase its likelihood and hasten its arrival. It's also emasculating.

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 14 2015 3:16 pm

@blisterfree

I think that considering the amount of time and money Rio Tinto spent on lobbying and campaign contributions to Obama and Boehner that they have serious momentum going for them on this one. The time for environmental groups to have stepped in has now passed. That deal is signed into federal law.
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
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CannondaleKid
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by CannondaleKid » Jan 14 2015 4:15 pm

Tough_Boots wrote:I think that considering the amount of time and money Rio Tinto spent on lobbying and campaign contributions to Obama and Boehner...
#1 Rio Tinto (under the guise of Resolution Copper admits they have already put $1 Billion over the last 10 years into getting this on track, I doubt they are going to let it get out of hand now.

#2 But Obama and Boehner were not even in the same ballpark compared to the contributions to our ARIZONA representatives... McCain, Salmon, Kosar, et al. The AZ reps have been pushing this for 10 years and for those same 10 years the rest of Congress has always seen it for what it was and always turned it down... until it got stuck into a defense bill that was going to pass pretty much regardless.
blisterfree wrote:Environmental groups just won a victory in blocking the Sunnyside drilling project on the Coronado south of Patagonia, which could set a precedent.
Unfortunately, I believe that is a pretty big stretch to make that comparison... Resolution Copper (Rio Tinto/BHP Billiton) has WAY more in the way of resources (see the $1 Billion mention above) to fight environmentalists than Regal Resources (the prospective driller @ Sunnyside), who describe themselves as a junior mining company from Vancouver.
blisterfree wrote:To sit back and accept "the so-called inevitable" is to increase its likelihood and hasten its arrival.
Again, unless someone can come up with the $$ to fight against BIG money (Rio Tinto with $50B+ & BHP Billiton with $67B in revenue for 2014) and along with the signature into Federal Law, I'd say it's a pretty much done deal.

No, I'm not happy about it, but I'm now to the realization I've done all I can and it's time to move on and let go of the emotional investment I've put into this over the last few years. Besides, communications with McCain and a personal conversation with Matt Salmon was like talking to a brick wall.
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by big_load » Jan 14 2015 6:16 pm

It would make me very happy to agree with blisterfree, but I'm not that optimistic.

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Sredfield
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by Sredfield » Jan 14 2015 9:12 pm

I suggest the best that can be done now is to persuade them to put the tailings in Pinto Valley versus north of Superior.
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by chumley » Jan 14 2015 9:23 pm

I'm hoping for the discovery of an endangered species. Perhaps the area is the only known habitat of the Oak Flat Mexican Spotted Graham Saguaro Squirrel-owl? (Believed to be a close relative to the mogollon monstercabrayeti.)
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by chumley » Feb 27 2015 11:16 am

There's some movement to have Oak Flat designated as a National Monument. This would prohibit mining on the site. National Monuments can be designated unilaterally by the President and needs no congressional approval.

What I'm not sure about is since the land exchange is now law, can the President make this designation to what is essentially privately owned land? The technicality being that the sale is not complete, and won't be for about a year, so the land is still owned by the federal government/forest service. But because the law provides for the exchange already, it may be impossible for the President to actually do this.

Then again, it seems plenty of people are upset about him doing other things with dubious legal authority, so maybe this one is still in play?

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valley ... vement.php
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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by blisterfree » Feb 27 2015 6:33 pm

What about designating Gaan Canyon - is this part of the exchange? If not, then its additional protections as a National Monument could potentially bring environmental regulations to bear (esp. aquifer protection) that would make long-term mining of the adjacent area a non-starter. Just speculating...

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by neilends » Feb 28 2015 1:23 pm

I hope I'm not straying into politics territory with this observation, but every president in history routinely has various executive orders challenged in court. The recent immigration kerfluffle is a bigger deal to those who dislike him than it is to constitutional lawyers, which is exactly the case every single time one of these cases is filed against any president.

I'm risking saying all that just to point out that if there's a movement for an executive order to save that land, we should definitely pursue it. The constitutionality of an order is probably very clear, so it's either a non-starter or it's not. My fear, however, is that this land swap that screwed us Arizonans is part of a back room bipartisan political deal. So the hurdle wouldn't be legal. It would be politics.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by neilends » Feb 28 2015 10:08 pm

My own review suggests that there is nothing controversial whatsoever, legally, about the President declaring a National Monument. His power to do so is by virtue of an act of Congress in the early 20th century.

Our friends and neighbors at the San Carlos Apache Nation have taken this cause up. If you want to join their cause by adding your signature online, you can do it here:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Pr ... S/?tWnggjb
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by rwstorm » Feb 28 2015 10:10 pm

@neilends
Thank you, I already have.
Onward into oblivion!

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by blisterfree » Mar 24 2015 12:58 pm

Public Meeting Notice
Rio Tinto wishes to dump Resolution's toxic tailings on public land managed by the Forest Service north of Highway 60 between Superior and Queen Valley (roughly across the street for Boyce Thompson Arboretum).
The Forest Service will be holding public meetings in Superior and Queen Valley on the newly released preliminary Environmental Assessment for Rio Tinto’s proposal to conduct baseline hydrological and geophysical testing on that proposed toxic tailings location for the proposed Resolution mine at Oak Flat.
The meeting in Superior, AZ is this WEDNESDAY, March 25, from 5:00 – 7:00 PM in the Multi-purpose room at the Superior Junior/Senior High School located at 100 Mary Drive in Superior.
The meeting in Queen Valley, AZ is this THURSDAY, March 26, from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at the Queen Valley Recreation Center located at 1478 E. Queen Valley Drive, in Queen Valley.
via Arizona Mining Reform Coalition.

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Re: Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act

Post by CannondaleKid » Apr 10 2015 7:47 am

I didn't attend either the Superior or Queen Valley meeting so have no idea how things fared, but I was in a TRAL (Tonto Recreation Alliance) meeting Wednesday evening at which an FS Geologist and an FS engineer gave a presentation and here's my takeaway:
It's a done deal...

That is EVERYTHING is a done deal... the mine, the processing facility on the north end of Superior, the 500' tailing mountain to go in the area between FR 172 & FR 650 just north of Hewitt Road, the pipeline over to just south of Florence Junction and more...

The moment the bill was signed by Obama, it was pedal-to-the-metal with no runaway ramp to save us.
Example: Anyone notice the new pipeline being laid along US 60 just west of Superior? That's for Resolution Copper running to a "gathering" (can't remember the specific word the FS geologist said) station jsut south of Florence Junction to be hauled away in trucks. As you can see, they wasted little time in moving forward... even before the environmental hoops have all been jumped through.

While the Forest Service (whose mandate is to support business use of federal lands) says that all the environmental i's will be dotted and all t's crossed before the actual mining begins, I believe it's coming and there's no stopping it.

The Forest Service geologist admits a 1,000' subsidence will gradually form in Oak Flat as the mining progresses. Who knows, maybe I'll never live long enough to see it.

Forest Service page with links to all the pertinent documentation:
Resolution Baseline Hydrological & Geotechnical Data Gathering Activities

My take at a quick glance through the comments and FS responses?
Preliminary Comment & Response Report
Ain't no comments gonna stop a $10 Billion steamroller!
(And that's just what Resolution Copper has ALREADY spent!

:M2C: X 2
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