Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Congress could act on Resolution copper land deal in omnibus bill

The Politico.com web site got a draft version of a proposed omnibus bill that the lame duck Congress could vote on this year. Politico says the bill includes a "national volcano alert system and language allowing a controversial Arizona copper mine" the latter being the land exchange needed for the Resolution copper mine near Superior to go forward [right, lands involved in the Resolution Copper exchange].

These "measures are two of the dozens of bills that Democrats may include in a massive omnibus that would create a host of new national parks, monuments and wilderness areas and pave the way for dozens of Western water projects."

Politico says of the Resolution land deal, "Backed by Arizona Republicans John McCain and Jon Kyl, it would allow Resolution Copper to exchange the land surrounding its proposed mine site for the company’s private holdings in the area. An earlier version of the legislation would have directed the Interior Department to make the exchange, but the Obama administration opposed that version and a subsequent committee compromise gives Interior final say on whether it goes forward."

They say Republicans are lining up against the omnibus, which is described as the Democrats best chance of getting legislation through before the new congress next year.

The omnibus also addresses abandoned mine lands:

Legislation that would allow Western states receiving money from an abandoned coal mine cleanup fund to spend it on gold, copper and other hard-rock mine sites. The bill targets Western states that have no more abandoned coal sites but still contribute to the cleanup fund through taxes on coal production. The Obama administration has opposed versions of the measure in the House and Senate, as it instead wants to cut off payments to the Western states and use the revenue to pay down the deficit.



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