CAMP VERDE, AZ – On October 21 the U.S. Forest Service hosted a consultation with Tribes at the Tonto Apache reservation regarding Resolution Copper’s proposed Baseline Hydrology and Geotechnical data gathering proposal. Prior to the consultation, Tribes and the Forest Service visited Superior, AZ to assess the natural springs and waterways in the footprint of the Projects proposed study area. The October 21 consultation resulted in a successful mitigation outcome between Tribes and the Project. Tribes participating in the consultation included Yavapai-Apache Nation, Tonto Apache Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Mescalero Apache Tribe. The San Carlos Apache Tribe was absent from consultations.
During the August 24 site visit in Superior, AZ, Tribes provided a formal recommendation for the protection of springs in the area for the Forest Service to mitigate on behalf of Tribes. On October 21, the Forest Service announced to participating Tribes that the recommendation submitted by Tribes was successfully mitigated and Resolution Copper amended its Baseline Hydrology and Geotechnical data gathering Plan to reflect the recommendation of Tribes.
“I can see things from both perspectives. As a tribal member, we believe that springs should be protected. These things have a right to exist so we want to see those things remain unaffected by Project activities. I also see the need for analysis and that this information is necessary so everyone can make the right decisions. This consultation process on the baseline proposal has proven that Tribes can be involved in the process of the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange, and that the tribal perspective will be taken into consideration on the issue. We were successful in finding middle ground between Tribes and Resolution Copper,” said Vincent Randall, Apache Culture Director for the Yavapai-Apache Nation.
According to the Forest Service, the agency has begun the consultation process on the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange. The purpose of the consultations is to make sure that Tribes have a level of involvement in the decision making process and to make sure that the cultural impacts of the Project are as minimal as possible.
The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange has been a priority issue for the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Unfortunately, the San Carlos Apache Tribe opted not to participate in the formal consultation process. The U.S. Forest Service will continue to hold consultation with Tribes on the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange.
“It is great that the Project was able to submit a data collection proposal and the Forest Service could work with Tribes to determine a recommendation that Resolution Copper could accept and implement. Our goal and intention is to work with Tribes on the development of the Project, and we hope that Tribes will continue participating in the consultation process and providing their voice and recommendations on different elements of the Project,” stated Tara Kitcheyan, Senior Advisor on Native American Affairs for Resolution Copper.