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Mining companies shouldn’t receive environmental exemptions

Some Apache hope they might get jobs from the proposed Oak Flat/Apache Leap Resolution Copper mine.

They hope these British/Australian mining companies (BHP and Rio Tinto) will hire Native Americans. In fact, the “block cave” mining jobs are highly specialized and not about truck driving or picks and shovels.

These two foreign companies have asked Congress for exemption from U.S. Native American cultural, human rights and environmental protection laws. These companies have horrendous Third World human- rights and environmental records.

By contrast, U.S. mining companies have not asked for exemption from U.S. cultural and environmental safety laws, namely the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Regrettably, U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell are supporting an end-run around NEPA and our Native American cultural and environmental protection laws by these two foreign mining companies.

Our priorities are to protect our Apache tradition and our Mother Earth.

-Audrey Johnson
San Carlos Apache elder

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