Mayor Surprised by Resolution Copper’s Filter Plant Plans

People living near Oak Flat have a lot to lose – or gain, depending upon how you look at it – as a result of the government giveaway of the southernmost section of the Tonto National Forest. This includes residents of Superior, a small town just a few miles down the road from the sacred Apache site.

To gain? Jobs or preservation of a rare desert perpetual spring. To lose? Jobs or preservation of a rare desert perpetual spring. For a small town that’s  long been wrapped around the bust-or-boom influence of the mining trade, it’s easy to understand how the promises of employment can turn the heads of local residents who would benefit from an influx in job opportunities.

Which is why a phrase in the December minutes of the Superior Town Council is so noteworthy.

Those who follow Oak Flat hear that the promise of jobs held out by Resolution Copper is very compelling to some Superior locals. Resolution Copper pledges thousands of good jobs, but skeptics say the nature of the block cave mining technique slated for the project suggest otherwise, noting that the jobs generated by this practice will rely heavily on employees with advanced degrees.

The Superior Town Council December Minutes reveal what seems to be a switcheroo. Mayor Valenzuela’s staff report explained that a recent meeting with Resolution Copper top execs showed, “. . . a filter plant was going to be built by Resolution near the San Tan valley. Mayor Valenzuela was surprised, he thought all plants would be built here to help with employment.”

Superior Dec minutes

This event brings to mind the old adage, “It’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” What will residents of Superior be left with if they don’t get the good deal they’re  hoping for and later Resolution Copper begs forgiveness, once they have the profits in their pockets? How willingly will they forgive when every time the wind blows, carcinogenic tailings are aired over the community? And what will it matter once the permanent damage is done?

How about considering building an electronics recycling plant in Superior, rather than blasting a new mine? Copper recycling is just a matter of time anyway, Earth does not grow new copper and supplies are limited. With the enormous amount of electronics Americans now purchase – and then must later discard – there’s a future in copper recycling. Not to mention that investing in this kind of sustainable business is compatible with other job-growing industries, such as tourism.

The Arizona Office of Tourism’s Research and Statistics Department reports that in 2014, the state hosted 40.7 million overnight visitors, up 4.1% YOY, resulting in $20.9 billion in direct spending, up 5.4% YOY. Tourism is on the rise. The rare riparian desert ecosystem and established climbing resources at Oak Flat present an attractive setting for the tourist industry that is compatible with the preservation of Oak Flat and its clean water source.

The decision of which side to support is a big one, with permanent consequences. The Superior Town Council has a lot to grapple with in deciding whether they pledge their support to the intentions and plans of a foreign mining giant, hoping they are not later on the receiving end of those begging forgiveness; or they opt to pursue greener pastures.

 

 

 

 

 

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Seattle Gears Up on the heels of Tucson’s Success

Yesterday’s Tucson Rally started a string of events in February to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Oak Flat occupation. A big group turned out to share dinner and hear Apache Stronghold leader Wendsler Nosie Sr. speak about progress of the effort to protect the sacred site. Musician Loren Victor provided entertainment for a crowd of about 100. Click here to see photos and videos of the evening’s program.

tucson event

Seattle walkers are excited and inspired by the Tucson kick-off. The event is spreading via social media, and a broad base of supporters from across the Puget Sound region pledge they will attend the Seattle walk on Sat. Feb. 27.

Click this link to join the Seattle walk

Thanks to Tucson’s fair trade print shop, The Gloo Factory, the classic black Save Oak Flat t-shirt is available for sale to the public.

Seattle walkers are eligible for a free t-shirt. Walkers who’d like a shirt are asked to send an email with the subject line, “I want a free Oak Flat t-shirt!” to walktosaveoakflat@gmail.com. Shirts will be handed out at the walk, while supplies last.

Show your support, join the walk, bring a friend.

Oak Flat shirt red

 

 

Seattle Walk: Route Information

The Feb. 27 Seattle Walk to Save Oak Flat will have two routes which will both end at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle.

Seattle walkers will meet at Red Square on the University of Washington main campus at 10AM. Participants can arrive by bus, find street parking, or park in the University’s Central Plaza Garage on 15th Ave. NE for $10. We will begin our walk toward downtown promptly at 10AM. The walk is about 3.8 miles to downtown.

Bainbridge Islanders and Kitsap County walkers will meet at Ordway Elementary School at 10AM and walk to the ferry terminal. Upon crossing the sound, the walkers will continue on to downtown Seattle. For a shorter walk, meet at the ferry terminal, under the flagpole at 11AM. We will board the 11:30 ferry, and walk to Westlake Park on the Seattle side (a little less than one mile.)

Our destination is Westlake Park, just outside of Westlake Center in downtown Seattle, at the corner of Pine St. and 4th Ave. We will arrive at Westlake Park and hold a Rally at 1PM.

Sign up to join the Seattle or Bainbridge walk by clicking this link.

 

apache-march-on-oak-flat-nosie-5391

Wendsler Nosie, Sr. will lead a walk and rally at Oak Flat, in Arizona, on Feb. 26-27.

Zeke Kelly’s New Film about Oak Flat

Filmmaker Zeke Kelly’s been working on a documentary about Resolution Copper’s attempt to mine Oak Flat for about a year. He’s well acquainted with the story, and is dedicated to bringing it to a broad audience.

Zeke has launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover the remaining production costs. Watch the film’s trailer below. Read his biography and details of the project here – Ezekiel Kelly Kickstarter Link  – and give generously, so this story can be well known while we still have a chance to do something about it.

Hey Seattle, Free Oak Flat T-Shirts!

Maybe you’ve seen photos of people wearing this very cool t-shirt:

Oak Flat shirt blue

The first 50 people to sign up for the Seattle/Bainbridge walk AND show up at the walk will get a FREE Oak Flat t-shirt, a $20 value. Available while supplies last.

If you want a shirt, email walktosaveoakflat@gmail.com and enter I WANT AN OAK FLAT SHIRT! in the subject line.

Remember, you must be present at the start of the walk to collect your shirt. Help spread the word to save Oak Flat.

Thanks to Tucson’s Gloo Factory for making these awesome shirts.

Tucson is Getting Fired Up!

The Global Justice Center in Tucson is the place to be this Friday, Feb. 12. The fight to protect sacred Oak Flat continues at this free event, where Apache Stronghold leaders Wendsler Nosie, Sr. and Naelyn Pike will speak. Food will be served at 6PM and a new movie about the struggle at Oak Flat will premiere.

What more could you ask for, Tucson? I envy you! It will be a great night with great people, don’t miss your chance to participate.

More information can be found at www.apache-stronghold.com or email oakflat.tucson@gmail.com.

Tucson save oak flat