Stephen Fox: Bernie Sanders works to protect sacred Apache site

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), third from left in back row, with tribal leaders and tribal members in Washington, D.C., on November 4, 2015. Photo from Twitter

Stephen Fox seeks support for S.2242, the Save Oak Flat Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), the Democratic presidential candidate. The bill ensures that Oak Flat, a sacred Apache site, won't be harmed by a copper mine in Arizona:
Tribes nation-wide and other Americans across the country deeply appreciate Senator Bernie Sanders’ efforts in the U.S. Senate to protect tribal sacred land in Arizona known as Oak Flat, located on U.S. Forest Service land, from destruction by foreign-owned mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton through their U.S. limited liability company Resolution Copper Mining.

Taking on these mining companies and fighting back against the millions of dollars these companies and their allies spent and continue to spend on lobbyists and political contributions, Senator Sanders introduced S. 2242, the Save Oak Flat Act, to correct not only an injustice to Native Americans but also against the American people. This situation is generally unknown to most American citizens. Sanders’ legislation, the Save Oak Flat Act, would repeal Section 3003, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange Act (Land Exchange), of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which would privatize part of the Tonto National Forest and transfer Oak Flat, a sacred area of Apaches and other Native Americans, to Resolution Copper Mining, jointly owned by foreign-owned mining companies BHP Billiton (United Kingdom) and Rio Tinto (Australia), resulting in the destruction of this sacred area. Resolution Copper Mining seeks to develop the largest copper mine in North America on this sacred land that will result in the collapse of an area at least 2 miles in diameter and the destruction of the Oak Flat area.

The Save Oak Flat Act would immediately halt this giveaway of land and natural resources owned by the American people to foreign-owned mining companies. Sanders' bill is cosponsored by New Mexico's Senator Martin Heinrich and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin.

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Stephen Fox: Sanders Champions Legislation to Protect Oak Flat (Indian Country Today 3/2)

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