U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) today introduced the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013, a bill that facilitates a federal land exchange to develop the Resolution Copper Mine and protect environmentally sensitive lands in Arizona. The mine would generate over $64 billion in economic activity and tax revenue, and could supply as much as 20 percent of the nation's domestic copper demand.
"We won't let Congress overlook how important this land exchange is for Arizona and our nation," said Senator John McCain. "This bill gives us access to the largest copper deposit in North America and creates about 3,700 jobs in an area of our state particularly hard-hit by the economic downturn. It's shameful that some in Congress have played politics with this proposal for seven years and it is now costing hardworking families their livelihoods as the layoffs announced in December continue. I am grateful for Senator Flake's dedication to this issue and to my colleagues in the House who are working together across party lines to breathe new life into this tremendous opportunity."
"This bill presents Congress with a rare opportunity to approve a measure that not only allows for the creation of thousands of private-sector jobs at no cost to the federal government, but to also protect thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive land," said Senator Jeff Flake.
Under the bill, the Resolution Copper company would give the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management about 5,500 acres of land identified by the Department of the Interior as "important" for conservation, including property near the San Pedro River, an important migratory bird corridor and wetland habitat for endangered species. In exchange for these lands, Resolution Copper would receive about 2,400 acres of Forest Service land for the exploration and development of our nation's top copper asset.
A bipartisan companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives today by Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ). The bill is identical to the House-passed version sponsored by Congressman Gosar during the 112th Congress.