Senate panel passes land swap opposed by tribes
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a compromise to S.409, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009.

The bill requires the Department of Agriculture to conduct a full environmental review of the swap between the federal government and Resolution Copper Co. The company wants to use 2,400 acres of federal land for what would be North America's largest copper mine.

Tribes oppose the swap because the mine would be located near a sacred site called Apache Leap. The San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Fort Mojave Tribe and the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona have all testified against the bill, with the most recent hearing taking place on June 17.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, supports the deal. A spokesperson for the San Carlos Apache Tribe said he has ignored tribal concerns.

"McCain is one of the stewards of this country and the law had protected this campground. I think he just stomped all over it," Lloyd Susan told The Arizona Daily Star, referring to the land in the Oak Flat campground area that Resolution Copper would use for the mine.

The House bill is H.R.2509. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said he will continue to oppose the swap.

Get the Story:
Senate panel OKs compromise on Arizona land swap (AP 12/17)
Land swap for mine advances in Senate (The Arizona Republic 12/17)
Superior's huge mine gets a win in Congress (The Arizona Daily Star 12/17)

Also Today:
Editorial: McCain's push gets major deal moving again (The Arizona Republic 12/17)

Related Stories:
Arizona tribes testify against land swap legislation (7/10)
Editorial: Land swap bill protects Apache sites (7/7)
Opinion: Renzi and McCain trample Apache sites
Editorial: Rep. Renzi, under indictment, must resign (2/25)
Rep. Renzi indicted on 35 counts for land deal (2/22)