Southern Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, friend to the pygmy owl and illegal immigration, who a few years ago encouraged businesses to boycott Arizona, is continuing his anti-mining, anti-jobs, anti-Arizona economy stance with introduction of several bills to Congress.
The “Southern Arizona Public Lands Protection Act of 2013” H.R. 1183, proposes to ban new mining claims. The Act will, subject to valid existing rights, withdraw “all forms of entry, appropriation, and disposal under the public land laws; location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and operation of the mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws, and the mineral materials laws” on all National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties. Grijalva has introduced similar bills every year since 2007. This will preclude all new mineral exploration in Southern Arizona.
Southern Arizona is mineral rich with several operating mines, soon to be operating mines, and very good country for mineral exploration.
Arizona mining directly employs 11,300 people, who earned $1.22 billion in 2011. Arizona mining companies spent a total of $2.80 billion in 2011 purchasing goods and services from other Arizona businesses which supported an addition 8,700 jobs. In 2011, the mining companies themselves paid $212 million in business taxes to Arizona governments. Employees of mining companies are estimated to have paid $96 million in individual taxes.
Grijalva states concern about our “valuable natural heritage” but seems to ignore the fact that mining is part of that heritage.
Mr. Grijalva notes on his website that he is against a land exchange that Resolution Copper is seeking with the Forest Service to enable Resolution to develop a copper mine near Superior, Arizona. The proposed underground copper mine could supply 30% of America’s copper needs and bring $1 billion per year to the state’s economy for 60 years. In the land exchange, Resolution Copper would get 2,422 acres from the Forest Service in exchange for 5,344 acres of environmentally sensitive land.
Grijalva’s “Grand Canyon Watershed Protection Act” would make permanent the “temporary” withdrawal (for 20 years) of one million acres near the Grand Canyon to prevent uranium mining. Uranium mining on the Colorado Plateau near the Grand Canyon poses no danger to the Colorado River water quality according to several studies. (See: Uranium mining and its potential impact on Colorado River water)
The “Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area Act” would establish a 3,325 acre National Heritage Area in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties which could have adverse affects on private property.
For a long time, Mr. Grijalva has been a tool of the environmental industry to the detriment of his constituents, their jobs, their safety, and the Arizona economy. He has supported establishment of wilderness areas along the Mexican border which would interfere with the Border Patrol’s ability to monitor the border.
As one of Mr. Grijalva’s constituents, I urge him to show more concern for people and their economic environment.