Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's Move Forward on Resolution Copper

The Arizona business community is fully supportive of this critical bipartisan project

By Glenn Hamer

Imagine you could deliver 3,700 jobs and $61 billion of economic impact to the state of Arizona simply by saying “yes.” It might seem too good to be true, but Congress can take the first step to make it happen by voting for the Resolution Copper land exchange this week.

No doubt you’ve heard about it. In 1996, one of the great copper ore discoveries in history occurred near Superior, Arizona. In fact, Resolution Copper may be as familiar to us as the “5 C’s” themselves. It could become the next great project in a long line of Arizona mining operations, which has led the nation in copper production since 1910.  And while the “Copper Triangle” has been producing world-class metals since the 1700s, this one is a game changer for our state.

A land swap is needed to move this project forward. A bipartisan bill, HR 687, sponsored by Arizona Reps. Gosar and Kirkpatrick would allow this to happen. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill this Thursday.

In the land swap agreement, Resolution Copper would transfer 5,344 acres of land in exchange for 2,422 acres owned by the federal government. It should also be noted that Senators McCain and Flake have a companion bill waiting in the Senate if it passes the House.

The land exchange is widely supported by a majority of our state leaders and numerous local and state organizations, including the Arizona business community. For us, this one is a no-brainer. It’s a bipartisan agreement that will pave the way for the production of more than one billion pounds of copper annually. That equates to an economic impact of $13 million in direct economic impact for the Town of Superior and $1 billion, including $90 million in taxes, for the state of Arizona every year, for the next sixty years. The 3,700 jobs created will generate more than $220.5 million in annual wages.

While the project is not without its opponents, it is clear the local community wants this project to move forward. In what was viewed as a litmus test for the project, the August 27 Superior Town Council recall election resulted in a pro-Resolution candidate ousting the incumbent who opposed the mine, by a margin of 2-1.

The land exchange is an excellent opportunity to provide an ideal balance between the expansion of jobs, local and state revenues, and diverse economic activity while conserving ecologically sensitive lands for future generations.

The residents of Superior support it. Members of both parties from our state delegation support it. We support it.

The people of Arizona expect Congress to do the same.

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