The campaign to protect a sacred Apache site from development is gaining support on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, introduced S.2242, the Save Oak Flat Act, on Thursday. The bill repeals a rider that authorizes a copper mine at Oak Flat in Arizona.
“Too many times our Native American brothers and sisters have seen the profits of huge corporations put ahead of their sovereign rights,” Sanders said in a press release. “It is wrong that a backroom deal in Washington could lead to the destruction of a sacred area that is so important to so many. We must defend the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are standing in opposition to this giveaway of our natural resources to foreign corporations.”
The rider was the work of several members of Arizona's Congressional delegation who support the Resolution Copper mine. They inserted Section 3003 into the 1,648-page National Defense Authorization Act even though nearly every tribe in the state opposes the project.