Terry Rambler: Defense measure raids sacred sites for one mine

Chairman Terry Rambler and President Barack Obama. Photo from Facebook

Chairman Terry Rambler explains why the San Carlos Apache Tribe opposes the Resolution Copper mine that would affect sacred sites in Arizona. Congress is poised to approve the project as part of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act:
Section 3003 would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to convey over 2,400 acres of the Forest, including Oak Flat, to a mining company called Resolution Copper, which is owned by the foreign mining giants Rio Tinto PLC (United Kingdom) and BHP Billiton Ltd (Australia). The Forest, established in 1905 from Apache ancestral homelands, is named after the Tonto Apaches who were forced from the Oak Flat area in the 1870s and imprisoned at Camp Verde Reservation. The Reservation is located 15 miles from Oak Flat. During the winter of 1875, the Apache prisoners of war were forced marched to San Carlos Reservation by the military. Over one hundred Tonto Apaches died during that winter March. It seems that history is repeating itself.

Oak Flat is a place of irreplaceable beauty. President Eisenhower specifically withdrew the Area from mining through a Public Lands Order. President Nixon reaffirmed withdrawal. However, Rio Tinto/Resolution Copper seek to develop and operate the largest copper mine in North America in the Oak Flat area. Resolution Copper plans to use the highly destructive block cave mining method to remove one cubic mile of ore – the equivalent of 1,400 stadiums – 7,000 feet beneath the surface of the earth without replacing any of the earth removed because it is the cheapest form of mining. Resolution Copper itself admits that the surface will collapse creating a crater visible from outer space and destroying forever our place of worship.

No one knows exactly how and where the earth will collapse as a result of Resolution Copper’s underground mining on this scale. Resolution Copper has never addressed what would happen if the inevitable collapse damages or causes the collapse of Highway 60. Highway 60 is the only direct highway from Phoenix to eastern Arizona. The economic repercussions for the citizens of Arizona would be immense and potentially devastating.

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Terry Rambler: Raiding Native Sacred Places in a Defense Authorization: Everything Wrong with Congress (Indian Country Today 12/10)

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