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McCain legislation benefits mining companies, hurts environment

Obama’s Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Interior Secretary Salazar recently met in Arizona with proponents and opponents of McCain- sponsored copper mine “land swap” legislation. Mine supporters participated in the meetings, as did opponents such as local townspeople, Native Americans and conservationists.

McCain’s legislation would destroy 2,400 acres of U.S. Forest Service land and weaken U.S. environmental and Native American cultural oversight laws. Since 1969 when Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), all new mines (some 183 mines) have followed NEPA, which protects priceless riparian environments and sacred Native American places.

McCain would weaken this nation’s environmental and cultural protection laws to benefit the world’s two largest, richest mining companies, Rio Tinto (British) and Broken Hill Proprietary (Australian). Google instantly reveals both have horrendous human rights and environmental records worldwide. That McCain would cripple our nation’s oversight laws for these notorious scofflaws is troubling.

- Robert Witzeman, Phoenix

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