U.S. Chamber Letter on H.R. 1884, the “Save Oak Flat Act”

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - 2:15pm

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:       

          The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes H.R. 1884, the “Save Oak Flat Act,” which would repeal the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act. This bipartisan legislation was originally signed into law by President Obama in 2014. Members who do not cosponsor this legislation will receive credit for the Leadership component of the Chamber’s “How They Voted” rating.[1]

          H.R. 1884 would reverse more than a decade of planning, negotiation, and environmental reviews undertaken to facilitate development of the Resolution Copper mine in Southeastern Arizona. Once operational, this project is expected to supply up to 25% of America’s copper demand, employing 3,700 workers and generating more than $1 billion in annual economic benefit. Moreover, the project is forecasted to generate up to $113 million in state and local tax revenue annually, providing much-needed financial resources for Arizona’s communities.

          This project is also critical to energy security and environmental progress. With major efforts underway in the U.S. and other countries to reduce emissions in the electricity and transportation sectors, global energy security concerns once associated with petroleum have given way to “clean energy dependence” risks. Specifically, many of the key technologies for decarbonization require large quantities of certain resources, including copper. For example, according to the International Energy Agency, the expected expansion of electricity networks necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement would result in a doubling of copper demand for power lines through 2040.[2]

          Similarly, copper is a key component of batteries necessary for electric vehicles, data centers, and consumer devices. Because an electric vehicle requires approximately four times as much copper as a conventional vehicle, total copper demand for the EV sector is expected to increase more than six-fold by 2030 as the pace of deployment accelerates. With copper prices more than doubling over the last year and now nearing all-time highs, establishing expanded domestic mining and processing capacity is clearly important. The Resolution Copper project therefore provides a unique opportunity to bolster America’s clean energy independence in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

          The Chamber strongly opposes H.R. 1884, and urges you to refrain from cosponsoring this bill.

Sincerely,

Neil L. Bradley