UPDATE TO #50 Arizona Land Swap
"For GOP, Arizona mine a job-creating model on US land" - The Miami Herald, November 11, 2011
So it turns out, to know one's surprise, that Republicans love the idea of using 2,400 acres of public land to create 3,700 jobs at a new copper mine in Arizona. Predictable.
While environmental groups and other critics express alarm, key backers of the project say it could become a national model for creating jobs, 3,700 in this case.
A "national model for creating jobs"?! How is that possible? Can we just trade land and open mines across the country to create jobs? A model is a template that can be used in other places. This seems like a single case with few similarities to other situations in this country. Calling it a model for job creation is a ploy by the proponents of this deal to appeal to the ideals of Republican leaders that are pushing this deal. It's a sneaky, underhanded, political tactic.
The House of Representatives voted last week to approve the land swap which will require the mining company, Resolution Copper Co. to give more than 5,000 acres that it owns in Arizona to the federal government. By transferring ownership of the land, rather than letting them lease it, the company bypasses laws that would require, among other things, a cultural resources inventory.
Archaeology groups and Indian tribes in Arizona oppose the plan, fearing that it will be too disruptive to the environment. Officials in the Obama administration have joined the opponents, saying the project needs more study and that the company needs to consult more with local tribes.
The legislation now goes to the Senate where Arizona's Senators, McCain and Kyl, "vow to do whatever they can to get it passed".
Read this article. If this goes through, and I'm sure that it will, it will set a precedent that will be hard to defeat. It could mean the end of CRM archaeology in many large mining areas. Also, what's to stop other other industries from using similar tactics? There are massive areas of public land in the west that could be "traded" for other, less important, land. I'm not sure what can be done about this but many people should be aware of this situation. Pass it on.