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Resolution Copper resolution stirs debate among Globe Council

Posted: Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Globe — District 4 Councilman Desmond Baker has been urging caution for the past three times the Resolution Copper support issue has been on the agenda. This time he was more emphatic. He said he was making, “. . .one last plea. Let's continue to conserve that land for America NOT for corporate greed.”

The Resolution Copper item was next to the last issue on an uncharacteristically long agenda for Globe Council at Monday night's special meeting. They usually don't meet on the first Monday of the month.

As the item was raised, Mayor Terry Wheeler said there were three speakers' cards but no one wanted to speak. They just sent their cards in. However, all three people did want to speak. Thus, Wheeler gave each of them one minute to speak on the issue. All three had been at the first meeting, Superior Councilwoman Kiki Peralta, former Mayor Chavez, and San Carlos Attorney Alexander Richie.

Peralta stated she had heard at the first meeting that some individuals on the Globe council said they had seen the hydrology report. She had asked to see it and she is still waiting. She asked the Globe council to remain neutral, “...since it is our back yard, not yours.”

Chavez said there were three sides to this issue. However he did not state what those sides were. He did say there were five main problems: NEPA reports, water issues, tailings, plan of operations, and permitting. He said that during the presentations the Resolution people had been making, a sixth problem appears to have surfaced, corporate funding. He did not have time to elaborate due to the one minute rule imposed by Mayor Wheeler.

Attorney Richie held up an Arizona Republic indicating the article informing readers that former Congressman Rick Renzi's trial was to start May 7. He said Renzi was the man who had started the ball rolling on this issue of the land exchange.

Then Councilman Baker made his plea. The council resolution expresses “the mayor's and council's support for the Southeastern Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, urging the U.S. House of Representatives to promptly enact the bill recognizing Resolution Copper Company for its investments and efforts to develop a new copper mine and enhance the local, state, and national economies. “

Baker said it seems laughable because there is not much “conservation” in it. He was especially concerned when Resolution started talking about drawing water for the mine from the Colorado River, saying he grew up along the Colorado when a person could drown in the river area where he was raised. Now a man could walk across it and it is only ankle deep. This corporation wants to use the “mighty Colorado” as the source of their water, and he urged the council to think again.

He said Resolution has spent a great deal of time and effort to get this vote.

Mayor Wheeler said he owed an allegiance to the people who elected him and those people need jobs. He said he knows the Apache people, having worked there for almost 50 years, and they say, “we need jobs.”

Councilman James Haley said he used to live in Superior and he sees no danger to the aquifer for this operation. He said he sees a greater danger going to Phoenix and seeing water used for decorative purposes rather than jobs or need.

When discussion heated up between Baker and Haley, Wheeler began to use his gavel to stop the debate between the two councilmen. When things finally calmed down, Baker asked for one last word, which the Mayor allowed before the vote. Baker said, “When are we going to tire of large corporations making promises and then not delivering?”

The motion was made, a roll call vote was taken and it was Baker and Councilwoman Mary Ann Uhl against. Alderman, Haley and Mariscal voted for approval. Councilman Mike Humphrey was absent and the Mayor does not register a vote unless there is a tie. Motion passed 3-2.

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