Later this week, the full U.S. House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 1904, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act. H.R. 1904 facilitates the development of an underground copper mine that will create new American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy and minerals and generate revenue for federal and state treasuries. In addition, the measure would bring high-value conservation lands into federal stewardship.
Specifically, H.R. 1904 would authorize a land exchange in Southeast Arizona, opening up the third largest undeveloped copper resource in the world and in exchange for lands encompassing endangered species, sensitive ecosystems, recreational sites, and historic landmarks. The mine will provide for over 3,700 jobs equating to $220.5 million in annual wages. According to a recent economic study, the total economic impact of the project is estimated to be over $61.4 billion, nearly $1 billion per year, and another $19 billion in federal, state, county and local tax revenue.
Just as relying on foreign oil imports threatens national security, relying on foreign copper suppliers threatens U.S. industry. The United States must use domestic resources to meet that growing demand and this legislation is a major step in the right direction. The project could produce enough copper equal as much as 25 percent of the current U.S. demand.