Washington — Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are on a break until after the Nov. 6 election. Still bottled up in the Senate’s 21-member Natural Resources Committee is the Resolution Copper Mine Land Swap bill, which has gone nowhere since the committee’s Feb. 9 hearing.
A Washington, D.C. insider said the Senate is expected to meet for only about two weeks after the election during Congress’ “lame duck” session and then will adjourn for the holidays and perhaps be out for the remainder of the year. Thus, ending the work of the 112th U.S. Congress.
This political insider, who did not want to be identified, says this short session next month could be the only remaining chance now that the land swap legislation has for getting Senate approval. Otherwise, HR 1904, introduced by Arizona Republican Paul Gosar, which easily passed the U.S. House last November, will officially be dead and will have to be reintroduced all over again in the House and the Senate next year.
There were some reports coming from the nation’s capital on Monday night that a bipartisan group of Senators may try to seek a post election session of Congress called for the sole purpose of reaching an agreement on a comprehensive national debt to avert a “fiscal cliff,” where the average household in the U.S. would be facing a tax increase of $3,500 this coming January. However, there was nothing official as of our press deadline.
Bruce Richardson, a spokesman for Resolution Copper, told the Silver Belt, “We are hopeful the U.S. Senate will approve the bill during next month’s lame duck session. At this point we don’t expect anything to happen until then.”
The land exchange measure, which would put 2,400 acres of Tonto Forest Lands east of Superior in private hands, is needed to pave the way for the full development of Resolution Copper’s $6 billion deep underground copper mine that would have a life expectancy of 35 to 40 years and provide jobs for up to 1,400 persons.
Earlier this year, San Carlos Tribal Council Chairman Terry Rambler, who is opposed to the new 7,000-foot deep underground copper mine because the site involves tribal holy lands, announced that Apache leaders have been able to get some 550 organizations and community leaders to come out against the opening of the new mine.