Reposted from www.dailykos.com
On December 4, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Hidden in the defense bill was a package granting an illegal land swap near Superior, AZ, for the benefit of a foreign company Rio Tinto PLC who seek to mine copper. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as part of the Senate Armed Services Committee was instrumental in pushing to get the provision language included.
All 2,400 acres are part of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands. So although Republican lawmakers have tried for years to secure the transfer of these lands, they have always run into strong opposition from the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Democratic lawmakers and conservation advocates.
Apache leaders learned of the inclusion of the provision to the NDAA while attending--ironically--the White House Tribal Nations conference.
Conservation advocates and American Indian groups, particularly the San Carlos Apache Tribe, say the mine would damage natural resources and culturally sensitive areas. A site called Apache Leap in the Tonto National Forest has been of particular concern.
Resolution Copper--a Rio Tinto venture with BHP Billiton Ltd.--would be given more than 2,000 acres of federal land in return for more than 5,000 acres of company land.
The NDAA now goes to the Senate for vote.