Project Update (as of February 21, 2023)
As directed by USDA, the Forest Service has completed its review of the tribal consultation record for the Resolution Copper Land Exchange Final Environmental Impact Statement. On September 10, 2021, the Forest Service proceeded with re-initiating government-to-government consultation with Tribal Nations to fully understand concerns raised by the Tribes and the project’s impact to tribally important and sacred resources within the project area. The Forest Service distributed letters to 15 Arizona tribes, requesting to re-initiate Tribal Consultation, focusing on water quality and mining techniques to consider further measures that may be discussed with Resolution Copper in subsequent Company Consultation. Further consultation with Resolution Copper concerning water quality and mining techniques may be productive in addressing concerns of the land exchange on affected Tribes.
Barnie Gyant, Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System, was appointed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as the Consulting Official for government-to-government consultation with Tribal Nations for the Resolution Copper Land Exchange project and consultation efforts on matters related to the NDAA. In October 2022, Under Secretary Homer Wilkes appointed ADC Troy Heithecker to replace Gyant after he retired earlier in the year. Consultation is currently ongoing.
On March 1, 2021, USDA directed the Forest Service to withdraw the Notice of Availability and rescind the Final Environmental Impact Statement and draft Record of Decision. USDA took this step to provide an opportunity for the agency to conduct a thorough review, to ensure regulatory compliance of environmental, cultural, and archaeological analyses, and to provide time for the Forest Service to fully understand concerns raised by Tribes and the public and the project’s impact to these important resources.