Cronkite News Service reports that 1st District Representative Paul Gosar was one of the Congressmen who questioned Interior Secretary Ken Salazar during a budget hearing on Wednesday.
Gosar asked Salazar why his department isn’t supporting the land swap bill that would clear the way for the proposed Resolution Copper Mine near Superior.
Gosar called the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act “jobs legislation” that would create more than 3,000 jobs.
Salazar said that his department generally supported a version of the bill that was introduced in the last Congress because it would have required an environmental analysis before any land exhange and also another one before mining could begin.
Gosar’s bill does not ask for an analysis before the land exchange. Salazar says an analysis should be done in order to address tribal concerns and issues relating to water.
Last week the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona told a Senate hearing that the Resolution mine would not only destroy holy land but it would also contaminate surrounding water sources.
Supporters of the mine insist that environmental and cultural issues will be addressed but the land swap should go through first because the state can’t wait for the economic boost.