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Public Statements

Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentleman.

The bill before us today proposes to give away National Forest land to the Resolution Copper Corporation so they can build a giant copper mine. There could be somewhere between $2 billion and $7 billion worth of copper on this land.

So who exactly is this company that is going to be the beneficiary of the Republican majority largesse? A controlling 55 percent of Resolution Copper's shares are owned by the giant mining conglomerate Rio Tinto.

What else does Rio Tinto own? It turns out Rio Tinto owns 65 percent of the world's largest open pit uranium mine, the Rossing Mine, in Namibia. Their second-largest partner in the Rossing Uranium Mine, with a 15 percent stake and two people on the board of directors, is none other than the government of Iran.

The U.N. Security Council has six times approved resolutions condemning Iran for its violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and this House has twice enacted strong Iran nuclear sanctions. Yet Rio Tinto is in partnership with the Iranian government to mine uranium. For what purpose?

And with this bill today we are rewarding Rio Tinto. We are telling Rio Tinto, Never mind the U.N. sanctions. Never mind the sanctions of U.S. law.

What the Deutch amendment does is say if you want to do business with America, you need to stop doing business with Iran and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Under this amendment, as soon as Rio Tinto severs its partnership with Iran and Ahmadinejad, Rio Tinto's Resolution Copper affiliate can proceed to take title to these very valuable Federal lands in Arizona in the United States of America.

I don't think that's too much for this Congress to ask. Vote for a strong nuclear nonproliferation policy. Send a message to Ahmadinejad. Vote for the Deutch amendment.

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