Pinal County to reach copper mine Resolution - Tucson News Now

Pinal County approves resolution to support mining company

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed 5-0 in support of a resolution to urge Congress to recognize the Resolution Copper Company for its copper mine work near Superior.

According to a news release, the House Energy and Minerals Subcommittee will discuss seven mining bills at a legislative hearing next week. 

One of the bills includes H.R. 687, or the "Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013."  It is sponsored by Representatives Paul Gosar and Ann Kirkpatrick.

Under this measure, Resolution Copper land would be exchanged with federal land near Superior so that Resolution may begin to obtain permits to open an underground mine.

Two speakers spoke in favor and two opposed the resolution by public comment to the Supervisors.

District 1 Supervisor Pete Rios has favored this project from the starting processes. The land in question affects his district.

"These [residents of Superior] know mining, they have never feared mining, it is engrained in them," Rios said.  "The big question before everyone is: do we do the land swap and then begin the environmental studies, or vice versa."

ASARCO nurse and District 2 Supervisor Cheryl Chase said that Resolution Copper has kept local elected leaders apprised of their operations.

"I've known about this project since I was in the legislature," Chase said.  "They have kept us and the people in the loop.  What this really boils down to is local control for the residents in the area."

Chairman Steve Miller pressed the urgency to get approval from Congress.

"I have supported this project for years," Miller said.  "It was sad to see the land exchange resolution die in the Senate last year.  Now we have to bring it up again in the House.  We really need this project."

District 4 Supervisor and Vice-Chairman Anthony Smith views the proposed land exchange as detrimental for the county.

"This project is of vital importance to the county, the state and the nation," Smith said.  "We need to embrace this project-52 percent of Pinal County people leave this county to go to work, we need to stop that."

District 5 Supervisor Todd House is confident that the district supports the proposal.

"I recently attended a meeting in Queen Valley," House said.  "Many of those people were initially not in support of the land exchange.  But once the issues were brought up, they seem to be changing their minds and supporting this project." 

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