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Casinos raked in $1.7 billion in fiscal 2011, putting them well ahead of receipts for cattle, cotton and citrus – three of the Five C’s, with copper and climate, that were recognized as traditional drivers of the Arizona economy.

The “Five C’s” that traditionally made the bulk of Arizona’s economy – copper, climate, cattle, cotton, citrus – may need to make room for a sixth: casinos. Revenue from Arizona’s 22 casinos far surpassed cattle, cotton and citrus in the most recent figures available. Read more» 1

A semi truck waits to cross the United States-Mexico border at San Luis, Ariz., in this file photo. Despite a new pact opening the border to trucks, few Mexican companies, and no U.S. firms, have taken advantage of the deal.

Five months after the U.S. and Mexico ended a stalemate on long-haul international trucking, the agreement has led to a handful of cross-border deliveries — all by the same truck. Read more»

Express Scripts CEO George Paz said the company’s Tempe operations are vital to the company. Paz testified Thursday before a Senate subcomittee that is looking into Express Scripts’ proposed $29.1 billion acquisition of rival Medco.

Express Scripts' CEO said Tuesday that the company's 1,700-worker Tempe site is "critical" to the pharmaceutical benefits manager, which is in the midst of a $29.1 billion bid to purchase its biggest rival. Read more»

President Barack Obama hugs Mary Black Eagle who with her husband, Sonny Black Eagle, “adopted” Obama as a Crow tribal member in 2008. At a conference of American Indian leaders, Obama said they are at a turning point in their relationship with the U.S. and that agencies are working to include tribal input in federal decisions.

President Barack Obama told tribal leaders Friday he is “a president who’s got your back,” in a speech that promoted sovereignty and pledged improved federal cooperation. Read more»

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday that environmental restrictions and lack of broadband access hinder job growth in his nation, the largest tribal community in the U.S., covering parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly told a Senate committee Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency “ignores reality” by insisting on the most-advanced pollution control technology to update coal-fired power plants. Read more»

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaks at the Grand Canyon in June.

The Interior Department outlined a series of changes Monday on how it leases Native American reservation land, moves that it hopes will promote renewable energy and increase homeownership. Read more»

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Flagstaff, said the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Clarification Act, to block a casino in Glendale, would protect an agreement between Arizona and tribes that have gaming in the state.

A House committee Thursday approved a bill to block a planned Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale, the latest in three years of so–far unsuccessful legislative and legal battles to stop the project. Read more» 1

This photo shows the area where Boulevard Associates has applied to build a solar energy plant. The view is from from Quartz Peak, 17 miles east of the site.

A proposed solar energy project in the West Valley needed a city’s worth of water from a nearby reservoir and a backup natural gas system to operate. A year later, it didn’t. Shifts in solar technology have driven down costs far enough that Sonoran Solar will drop its proposed steam-powered turbine and go with an all-electronic photovoltaic system that uses 95 percent less water. Read more»

Mojave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, left, geologist Karen Wenrich and former congressional staffer Mark Trautwein wait to testify during a contentious House subcommittee hearing on a bill that would open 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon National Park to new uranium mines.

A bill that would open 1 million acres near Grand Canyon National Park to new uranium mining was hailed Thursday as an economic boon and derided as a threat to the park’s wilderness and tourism value. Read more»

This Pinal County-provided map shows the location of Section 16, which has been gradually surrounded by the Gila River Indian Community reservation and has been the subject of a court fight over access.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal this week to hear an Arizona tribe’s land case could erode Indian governments’ sovereign right to enforce access to their property, the Gila Indian River Community said. Read more»

A semi truck waits to cross the United States-Mexico border at San Luis, Ariz., in this file photo.

A strong Mexican economy is helping Arizona keep pace with other states in export sales this year. Mexico accounted for more than a third of the state’s international trade in the first half of 2011, when Arizona’s total export sales jumped $1.2 billion. Read more»

The government’s 'solar energy zone' program aims to speed development of solar power by identifying areas where business opportunity is high and environmental risk is low, then tailor regulations to fit the specific site.

The Department of the Interior has dropped one of three proposed “solar energy zones” in Arizona because of environmental concerns about the site, the department said Thursday. Read more»

Witnesses testifying on an Internet gambling bill included, from left, Parry Aftab of FairPlayUSA, National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernest Stevens, Keith Whyte of the National Council on Problem Gambling, former New York Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, Chapman University law Professor Kurt Eggert and Dan Romer of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

A bill to legalize Internet gambling might take little, if any, of the nearly $2 billion Arizona’s tribal casinos gross annually, experts say – but that does not mean that tribes don’t have concerns. Read more»

Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa in a January, 2011, file photo. Shingoitewa this week voiced support for a bill advancing through the U.S. Senate that calls for sweeping changes to Native American education.

Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa would like to see more money for special-needs students in tribal schools and federal aid for Native language programs. The Native Culture, Language and Access for Success in Schools Act could address at least some of the complex long-standing issues that Arizona tribal leaders say plague their schools, supporters say. Read more»

Navajo Nation Delegate Kenneth Maryboy, left, and Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim testify at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on who should manage a Navajo oil trust fund. The tribe has split on whether it should be run by the tribal government or a nonprofit, with Maryboy and Jim on opposite sides of the issue.

Navajo leaders clashed at a Senate hearing Thursday over who should control a $30 million trust fund for oil and gas royalties after the Utah government gave up control of it in 2008. Read more» 1

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