U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S (AZ-4) and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1) introduced the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, H.R. 687. This legislation authorizes a land exchange that will protect environmentally sensitive lands while opening up the largest copper mine in North America. Arizona House Members Matt Salmon (AZ-5), David Schweikert (AZ-6), and Trent Franks (AZ-8) all supported the legislation as original co-sponsors.
Congressman Paul Gosar stated, "this bill is a win-win for Arizona and for our nation -- it will create over 3,700 high-paying jobs, increase U.S. energy and mineral independence, and preserve some of rural Arizona's most beautiful natural lands. Even though this common sense proposal has overwhelming bipartisan support across our state, it has been held up for years by trivial political bickering in Washington. Those needless delays have cost hundreds of rural Arizonans their jobs. This Congress, the gridlock must end. Congresswoman Kirkpatrick and I will build on last year's successes in the House, work closely with Senators Flake and McCain in the Senate, and finally get this land exchange across the finish line."
Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick stated, "My vision for Arizona is a diversified and stable economy. The Superior mine fits into that vision and is critical to the communities and constituents in my district -- it will provide jobs, economic development and a stronger foundation for their future. This project has faced opposition from tribal and environmental groups over the years, and I believe their voices should be heard during this process. I am committed to using the legislative process to advance this project and represent outstanding concerns, and I look forward to working with Congressman Gosar and the Arizona delegation to ensure the Superior Mine finally moves forward. Let's get this done, for the good of these communities and for Arizona."
The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act authorizes a land exchange that will open up the third largest undeveloped copper resource in the world, located near Superior, Arizona. In exchange, over 5,000 acres of high-value Arizona conservation lands -- encompassing endangered species, sensitive ecosystems, recreational sites, and historic landmarks -- will be protected.
According to a recently conducted economic analysis, the resulting central Arizona copper mine will create nearly 3,700 jobs equating to $220.5 million in annual wages. The total economic impact of the project is estimated to be over $61.4 billion, over $1 billion per year over the life of the mine.
In the 112th Congress, Congressman Paul Gosar navigated the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act to House-passage. The was the first time the initiative was passed by either house of Congress in its eight-year history. The U.S. Senate held a hearing on the Gosar bill last February, but failed to pass it before adjournment.