Opponents of the Rosemont copper mine south of Tucson, point to the Canadian home of the company's parent, Augusta Resources, as rationale for halting the mine. Yet, the State of Arizona has trade offices in not only Canada, but Mexico, Europe, and China, in hopes of luring foreign investments in Arizona and purchase of Arizona exports.
The debate over foreign investment in the U.S. is ratcheting up across the Western U.S. A series of recent articles and reports look warily at global investments in natural resources in Arizona and other western states.
High Country News last week ran a feature story on how "China's insatiable energy appetite is fueling a natural resource boom in the West" [subscription required].
Stanford University's Rural West Initiative, Bill Lane Center for the American West, has a report on "Fossil Fuels, Foreign Trade, and Foreign Investment in the American West" that concludes that "The biggest foreign influence on fossil fuel production comes from rising worldwide consumption of fossil fuels, and that is largely driven by growth in Asian economies. However, the main driver of demand for fossil fuels from the American West continues to overwhelmingly come from domestic consumption in the United States. The American West is indeed a “carbon colony.” But it is our carbon colony."
Another report on the Stanford site, provides an interactive map [right] with foreign-owned energy and mineral resource operations shown for western states.
Interestingly, the map and the reports largely ignore foreign investments or ownership of large renewable energy projects such as Spanish company Abengoa's construction of potentially the world's largest solar energy plant on 1,900 acres west of Phoenix, using $1.45 billion in U.S. government loan guarantees.
So, the issue may not be foreign investments per se, but what those monies are funding, that really matters.