The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 (H.R. 687), sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04), is a bipartisan bill to create thousands of American jobs by authorizing a fair value land exchange in Southeast Arizona that would open up the third largest undeveloped copper resource in the world. Increasing development of our own U.S. copper resources will grow our economy, generate billions in revenue and strengthen our national security.
This bill requires an equal land exchange to ensure fair treatment for taxpayers and the government. The bill further requires that the cost of the land exchange be fully paid for by the mine developer. With these protections in the bill, CBO concludes that the cost of the bill is effectively zero as any cost, for management of newly acquired environmentally and culturally sensitive lands, is so low it can’t be accurately measured.
Creating American Jobs:
The mining project resulting from the land exchange will support nearly 3,700 American jobs, equating to more than $220 million in annual wages.
Strengthening the Economy:
According to a recent economic study, the total economic impact of the mine is estimated to be over $61.4 billion, nearly $1 billion annually.
The project is also estimated to generate total federal, state, county and local tax revenue of nearly $20 billion.
Producing American Copper:
This project could produce enough copper to meet 25% of current U.S. demand.
Copper is a critical metal used in a wide variety of products including renewable energy technologies, electronics, transportation and machinery. The Department of Defense indicates that copper ranks second among minerals (behind aluminum) in defense industrial applications.
According to a 2011 United States Geological Survey Report, the United States imports over 30% of our copper. Meanwhile, domestic production of copper decreased by 5% in 2010 alone. Relying on foreign copper threatens our national security and harms our economic competitiveness.
Protecting the Environment and Tribal Rights:
The bill requires full National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance and tribal consultation prior to constructing the mine.
The bill enjoys widespread local and national support that includes Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, demand for copper in the United States is on the rise. Copper is heavily used in building construction, electric and electronic products, industrial machinery, and consumer goods.