Tired of ads? Want to support our progressive journalism? Click to learn more.LEARN MORE

Trump deadenders rush to give Apache sacred land to a mining company

Team Trump is racing to transfer federal land in Arizona that is sacred to the Apache to a mining company just days before the end of his term.

President-elect Joe Biden has not spoken publicly about the project, but he plans to nominate a Native American who participated in a hearing critical of the proposed mine, U.S. Rep.Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to lead the Interior Department.

"This place is going to be murdered," said Wendsler Nosie Sr., the former chairman of the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The environmental study needed to initiate the 2,422-acre transfer is expected to be released Friday. Apache Stronghold, a nonprofit, has sued in federal court to try to block the land swap to Resolution Copper LLC.

Chi'ChilBildagoteel, often called Oak Flat, in the Tonto National Forest about 40 miles east of Phoenix is a sacred site for the San Carlos Apache tribe and other tribal nations. Native Americans hold religious and cultural ceremonies and gather food and medicine. President Dwight Eisenhower protected the area from mining in 1955.

Consultant Steve Emerman told the House subcommittee in March that the proposed copper mine "is the worst mining project I have ever encountered."

Plans by Resolution Copper, a partnership of Rio Tinto and BHP, call for building a dam to contain mine waste. A similar dam, the Brumadinho Dam, which contained 1% of the waste that the Arizona dam would hold failed in Brazil in 2019, killing 270 people. Florence, Ariz., a town with more than 26,000 people, is about 10 miles away from one of the sites proposed for a dam.

"We are seriously discussing a mining project in Arizona that would be illegal even in China," Emerman said.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon put a loophole in the mining ban, allowing the land to be swapped to a private owner who wouldn't be subject to the ban. Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, a former lobbyist for a subsidiary of mining behemoth Rio Tino, snuck in a provision in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that authorized the swap.

"I am sorry I wasn't here when this bill was finagled into the NDAA," Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, said during a hearing in March. "I am sorry that I didn't have a voice in Congress when it was important."

Resolution Copper plans to mine 1.4 billion tons of ore, creating a crater twice as deep as the Washington Monument.

The Rio Tinto Group spent $690,000 on federal lobbying in 2020. BHP spent $170,000.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visited Phoenix in October and praised the proposed mine.

"The U.S. has a special appreciation for global enterprises like Rio Tinto that choose to engage in projects like this one on our shores," Ross said.

Judge slaps down Trump ploy to force elderly into nursing homes

Team Trump lost a court battle that could have pushed our nation’s low-income elderly, disabled and blind out of their own homes and into deathtrap nursing homes during the pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

Inside Donald Trump's plan to kill grandma

Team Trump is trying to force our nation’s low-income elderly, blind and disabled out of their own homes and into death trap nursing homes during the pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

Republicans are still gunning for Obamacare -- and Georgia's GOP governor has a new scheme to help the party destroy it

Team Trump hasn’t been able to kill off Obamacare yet, even with stacking our nation’s courts, so at least one Republican governor will make it more difficult for people to buy health insurance.

Keep reading... Show less

Texas leads fight to end protections for Native American children

The top legal officers of Texas, Louisiana and Indiana—all Republicans—are trying to end legal protections that make it more difficult for child welfare agencies to tear apart Native American families.

Keep reading... Show less

Judge blocks effort to destroy San Francisco Bay salt ponds

A federal judge rejected an attempt by the Trump EPA to classify saltwater ponds near the San Francisco Bay as “merely a component” of a salt plant’s “industrial processing activity” that shouldn’t be protected under the Clean Water Act.

Keep reading... Show less

Dangerous 'bomb trains' are coming soon to a town near you -- thanks to Donald Trump and Jared Kushner

An energy company tied to a hedge fund that loaned millions to the Trump Organization and the Kushner Companies will benefit after Team Trump approved railroads running “bomb trains” through our nation loaded with liquefied natural gas with more explosive power than the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump's EPA gives power plants a pass on deadly coal ash

Retiree Julie Pease and her husband moved into their modest lakefront home near Herrington Lake in Kentucky eight years ago, but she won’t eat the fish because the lake is polluted by coal ash from the nearby power plant.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump's EPA gives power plants a pass on deadly coal ash

Retiree Julie Pease and her husband moved into their modest lakefront home near Herrington Lake in Kentucky eight years ago, but she won’t eat the fish because the lake is polluted by coal ash from the nearby power plant.

Keep reading... Show less

Federal employees say they're being forced back to unsafe offices

The largest union representing EPA employees has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the agency, accusing Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his deputy of lying about contract negotiations as the EPA prepares to require employees to work at their offices during a pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

'Unfit for the position': Acting BLM chief won't get the permanent post -- but he'll stay on the job

William Perry Pendley, the embattled attorney who is acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, is out as a candidate for the permanent job.

Keep reading... Show less

Trump's Bureau chief wants to give authority over federal lands to local law enforcement officials

Donald Trump’s acting head of the Bureau of Land Management, says local authorities should have primary law-enforcement authority on federal land.

Keep reading... Show less

Court says Trump Administration can’t stall environmentalists challenging energy companies

An appeals court called out Trump regulators for perverting our nation’s checks and balances to shunt landowners and environmentalists into legal limbo and allow energy companies to seize their land and build pipelines while their legal actions were pending.

Keep reading... Show less

Radical Republicans are already sabotaging the next president

The Trump EPA is trying to stack an advisory committee on drinking water to continue to help polluters and cost-conscious water utilities even if Trump loses in November.

Keep reading... Show less