PHOENIX — This past weekend, students with a Native American Club ran over 180 miles to try and protect Oak Flat in the Tonto National Forest.
Students with Brophy High School’s Native American Club started their 180-mile journey from Flagstaff last Wednesday and arrived at their destination at Oak Flat on Sunday.
The day after finishing their race, the students received information that is leading to a victory for them.
A decision by the US government Monday has paused the land exchange that would give the land to a giant mining company.
Resolution Copper is planning to build one of the nation's largest underground mines about an hour east of Phoenix. Oak Flat is sacred to many Apaches and would be destroyed by the mine.
The USDA announced it will withdraw the final environmental impact statement published in January. That report on the impacts of the mine started the clock on the land swap.
This means Resolution Copper will no longer get access to Oak Flat in a couple of weeks as was expected.
A few groups have filed federal lawsuits claiming the impact statement had been rushed and was inadequate.