Washington, D.C.— Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva introduced a bill to remove lands in the Coronado National Forest and certain lands owned by Pima County and the federal government from future hard rock mining claims.
“The community concerns on the current and future mining proposals in our area created the need for this legislation,” stated Grijalva. “This bill will prevent speculators from staking claims in areas that are more valuable to citizens of our region and to our economy as they are now. It will also require holders of existing mining claims to show that their claims are valid before they are allowed to mine.”
The legislation removes from future claims Pima County-owned preserves and leased lands, where the federal mineral estate is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The legislation does not affect valid existing claims, which may be mined in the future if they are shown to contain a valuable mineral deposit.
Grijalva has held several hearings on the environmental impact of the antiquated 1872 Mining Act and on the current proposal for copper mining on the Rosemont Ranch in Southeastern Arizona. A bill to reform the 1872 General Mining Act, cosponsored by Grijalva, was re-introduced earlier this year.
Pima County and Santa Cruz County supervisors, the City of Tucson, Oro Valley, and the Town of Patagonia requested that the Santa Rita Mountains be withdrawn from mining.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is also a co-sponsor of the legislation.