During Oak Flat hearing, U.S. says it may release new environmental report

By Ron Dungan
Published: Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 4:47pm
Updated: Friday, March 24, 2023 - 7:40am
Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

When President Biden took office, his administration acted quickly to unpublish an environmental report that gave the green light to a proposed copper mine in the Oak Flat area of Tonto National Forest.

But it may soon reconsider that decision.

A group of San Carlos Apaches and conservationists have opposed the mine, largely on religious grounds.

Members of the tribe say that Oak Flat is a place of worship, and restated their case against the Forest Service before a full federal appeals court earlier this week.

During oral arguments, a government attorney said the Environmental Impact Statement could be republished this spring.

That would trigger a land swap that would transfer Oak Flat to Resolution Copper.