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U.S. House Committee Hears Testimony On Save Oak Flat Bill

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

The U.S. House Committee for Indigenous people held hearings Tuesday on Congressman Raul Grijalva’s bill to permanently protect Oak Flat from a proposed copper mine.

Shan Lewis, president of the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, said the mine would consume billions of gallons of water. 

“And we are hearing stories of impending shortages on the Colorado River," Lewis said. "At the same time, people are moving here in record numbers. Yet this single mine project would deplete massive amounts of water from Arizona’s water supply. How can all this fit in Arizona’s long-term water future? The answer is it can’t.” 

Lewis said the mine would destroy land that a number of tribes consider sacred or culturally significant.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.