Coalition Files Suit Over Proposed Copper Mine At Oak Flat

Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - 5:16pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - 5:55pm
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A coalition of tribes and conservation groups have filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service to block a land swap that would give part of Tonto National Forest to a London-based mining company. The swap would pave the way for one of the largest copper mines in the U.S. in a section of the forest known as Oak Flat.

The suit claims that the Forest Service failed to get sufficient public input before filing an Environmental Impact Statement. It also says that the mine, which would create a crater more than a mile wide and about a thousand feet deep, raises a number of questions about groundwater and pollution.

“They get the gold and we get the shaft, so we get all the environmental degradation and loss of water, but the copper goes overseas for final production,” said Roger Featherstone of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition.

Legal action by the nonprofit Apache Stronghold earlier this month temporarily blocked the swap.

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