MAJORITY LED REPUBLICAN SENATE SHOWS HOW GOOD GOVERNANCE WORKS
HOLY APACHE SITE GIVEN TO MINING COMPANY
Thanks to a rider to the must-pass Defense Appropriation bill passed last December inserted by Arizona Senators John McCain (R) and Jeff Flake (R), a sacred San Carlos Apache holy site, Oak Flat, has been given to a private mining company in exchange for land the company owns. Resolution Copper Mining, an Australian-British multi-national company, will receive 2,400 acres of land in Arizona including the Oak Flat site in exchange for the National Park Service receiving 5,300 acres of Resolution owned land. Hey what a deal right? The U.S. Government receives more than twice the acreage than it’s giving up. It’s a deal that 300 people have been protesting at the Apache holy site since last December.
How, one might ask, could two United States Senators be either so callous or so ignorant to have put together this “Good Governance” deal that snatches a Native American holy site from the Apache tribe? Well, part of the answer lies in the fact that Rio Tinto, Resolution’s parent company, has been after this site for over a decade and already has mining operations in the area. Then there’s the contributions to both Senator McCain’s and Senator Flake’s political campaigns by Rio Tinto affiliates. Then too, there’s the fact that Jeff Flake was a paid lobbyist for a Rio Tinto affiliate, Rossing Uranium.
What’s kind of nifty about this whole “Good Governance In Action” land swap, is that Oak Flat has had special protections (including a ban on mining) since a 1955 special protections decree signed by President Dwight Eisenhower. The special protection decree was renewed by President Nixon in 1977 and this self same deal to put public lands in the hands of Resolution Mining has been attempted several times by the Arizona Congressional delegation over the years. So it’s my conclusion, as circumstantial is it might be, that Republican Senators McCain and Flake were aware that the property they swapped in the Defense Appropriations bill was a special holy place for Apaches.
Now I suspect that had Oak Flat been a holy Christian or Jewish site, this deal would never have happened. But, of course, that’s just my opinion. But as unjustified as my speculative hypothesis might be, frankly I’d be willing to bet my entire 401(k) that if this land in the Arizona desert had been considered holy by the Arizona Baptist Congregation or the Phoenix Temple of Sinai, this deal would not have taken place. So much for the standing of Native Americans in the minds of Republican Senators McCain and Flake.
Just to wind up here, you will recall that during the period between last November’s election and the January 3, 2015 swearing in ceremony, we heard quite a bit about how the newly red Senate and continuing red House were going to show America what real Republican Good Governance was all about in contrast to the horrible governance demonstrated by the Democrats since Moses parted the Red Sea. Right. At this moment that good governance has resulted in the suspension of several provisions of the USA Patriot Act and not much else. For me? That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But what is a despicable, disgusting and reprehensible act of the so-called Republican Good Governance crowd, is the stealing of public lands for private benefit to say nothing of totally disrespecting and dismissing the legitimate claims of a group of Native Americans. I guess Native Americans don’t register on Senator McCain’s and Flake’s radar as being worthy citizens granted the rights and protections afforded the rest of us.
Good Governance? I can’t wait until November 8, 2016 when, God willing, we can say Good Riddance to the Good Governance shysters.