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FLORENCE — The Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved sending a letter to President Joe Biden Wednesday expressing the board’s continued support of the Resolution Copper project and federal land exchange near Superior that makes it possible.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently delayed the land swap in order to consult with Native American tribes and other concerned groups for further environmental review.

The proposed mine involves one of the largest copper resources in North America. Some Native American and conservation groups believe it will destroy sacred and environmentally sensitive land. The board’s letter expresses concern “about the last-minute decision” to rescind the mine’s Final Environmental Impact Statement.

“Mining is an important part of the heritage of Pinal County. Resolution Copper has demonstrated that it will support preservation of this heritage and rural economic development with measures such as the Copper Triangle Cultural Heritage Preservation Fund and the Copper Triangle Community Development Fund. Both measures will help provide the tools necessary for our rural communities to prosper beyond mining and well into the future,” the letter said.

“The Castleberry Campground and many other recreational trails and new access to climbing will support a continued tradition of world class outdoor recreation while also expanding economic diversification opportunities for local communities. Resolution Copper has also agreed to restore the landscape by spending $75 million on reclaiming the historic footprint of the Magma Copper Mine, all while using and building the capacity of our local community contractors.

“We commend the United States Forest Service, Tonto National Forest for their thorough, thoughtful and transparent process in which they listened to all stakeholders and made many changes to the project scope in response to those voices. Local communities, Native American Tribes and other stakeholders actively participated with local, federal and state cooperating agencies to provide meaningful input throughout the process.

“Comment time frames have been generous and (were) extended several times at the request of interested parties. The FEIS is nearly 3,000 pages and Appendix S of the Final EIS contains hundreds of consultations spanning more than a decade.” The letter concludes:

“We urge you to review the FEIS and all the components of the project record and proceed with the FEIS and land exchange so that transparency, fairness and public confidence in the regulatory process can be maintained, and that the many benefits of the project for our residents and the County can be realized.”

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.