To the editor:
Senator McCain recently co?sponsored land swap legislation giving away 1,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land near Superior to a British/Australian copper mining consortium. McCain's legislation intentionally exempts the mine from our nation's most important environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
No public oversight will occur on how the ore is smelted, or how much groundwater and Central Arizona Project (CAP) water is needed. Lacking is NEPA oversight of the mine's impact upon Native American historic and sacred sites, an endangered cactus, and a priceless, adjacent riparian ecosystem.
Superior's former mineshaft must first be dewatered of billions of gallons of polluted water. Boyce Thompson Arboretum, just downstream, says they don't want that pollution flowing through their sanctuary. The mine now claims they will pipe that pollution into Pinal County and dilute it tenfold with CAP water to "purify" it. Since McCain's bill destroys NEPA public oversight, citizens won't know how much scarce Colorado River CAP water this mine wilt use for its mining, smelting and "purification."
McCain's legislation is an unconscionable abuse of Arizona's resources and its cultural and environmental heritage.