Interior Department pulls back EIS for Resolution Copper

Oak Flat - Russ McSpadden Photo/Center for Biological Diversity

SUPERIOR — The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Monday afternoon it has reversed course when it comes to the proposed Resolution Copper Mine near Superior, and will not publish it final environmental impact study.

The study and the draft record of decision are the final steps before a land swap between the federal government and Rio Tinto can be finalized, paving the way for the mining project.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statement critical of the Interior Department’s decision.

“An effective and predictable regulatory environment is a critical factor in Arizona’s booming economy. In Arizona, we follow what works. Undoing lengthy, comprehensive, and already-completed federal environmental studies on a whim with the changing of federal administrations doesn’t work. This type of activity threatens an untold number of major projects in Arizona and around the country. I am calling on the USDA to reissue these crucial documents in a timely manner and continue progress on this job-creating project,” Ducey said.

The land swap has been opposed by the San Carlos Apache Tribe, who claim part of the land involved — Oak Flat — hold religious significance as sacred land.

Meanwhile, Apache Stronghold has tried numerous times to get a court to issue an injunction halting the land trade, but was unsuccessful due its lack of standing.