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Stories by Sarah Oven

Fight over Arizona's Oak Flat mine draws support of diverse religious groups

The prospect of whether to turn sacred Apache land over to a mining company, whose plans for the site would “obliterate” the ability of tribal members to worship there, has turned an environmental fight over the mine into one over religious rights and drawn a diverse cast of supporters to the Apache cause. ... Read more»0

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Tribal officials outline infrastructure gap ‘big as the Grand Canyon’

Witnesses at the House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Wednesday cited statistics that depict a bleak picture of infrastructure on reservations, including water and electricity, and said that even those numbers were likely overly optimistic. “It’s time for America to support the Navajo Nation and all Indigenous communities and invest in utility infrastructure,” said Walter Haase, general manager of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.... Read more»0

Superior mayor, tribal officials spar over bill to stop Oak Flat mine

The mayor of Superior told a House panel Tuesday that a bill canceling a massive copper mine at Oak Flat would be “devastating” for the Pinal County town and its hopes to revitalize its economy.... Read more»0

Court backs asylum claim, says Phoenix woman’s feminism would endanger her in Mexico

A federal appeals court Monday backed the asylum claim of an undocumented immigrant in Phoenix who said her feminist political beliefs would put her in danger if she was returned to Mexico. ... Read more»0

Death, taxes & April 15? Maybe not. Tax filing dates shift in 2021

The IRS this month extended the tax-filing deadline to May 17 to allow for complications from COVID-19, but in Arizona the due date remains April 15 – for now. The Legislature is moving toward an extension, but final approval for that move may not come until just days before state taxes would be due.... Read more»0

Advocates call on Biden to 'tear down this wall,' repair border damage

Advocates called on President Joe Biden to “tear down this wall” Tuesday and fulfill his campaign promise of stopping the border wall construction that he put on hold in January. The meeting of border-state lawmakers, advocates and tribal members came 70 days after Biden, in one of his first acts as president, halted construction and gave the secretaries of Defense, Treasury and Homeland Security 60 days to study next steps on the wall.... Read more»0

Arizona tribal leaders ask for more funding, less meddling for water projects

Arizona tribal officials told a Senate committee that the federal government can help address a crisis with water infrastructure on their lands through more funding, and less meddling. It’s not just lack of money that’s holding tribes back, but federal laws that hamstring their ability to make decisions for themselves.... Read more»0

Sinema faces blowback for minimum wage vote; long-term damage unclear

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said she still believes the Senate should take up a higher minimum wage, but that didn’t keep critics from lighting into her after her Friday vote to keep the higher wage out of the latest pandemic relief package.... Read more»0

Supreme Court hears Arizona voting law case with national implications

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told the Supreme Court Tuesday that voting laws already struck down are really no more than “common-sense and commonplace” voting protections. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said the laws “have a discriminatory impact on American Indian, Hispanic and African American voters in Arizona”. The high court’s ruling in the case will affect enforcement of a section of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits race-based restrictions on voting.... Read more»0

Feds rescind OK for copper mine at Oak Flat, seek 'thorough review'

The government Monday rescinded its approval for a proposed massive copper mine at Oak Flat, just days before it was to transfer thousands of acres of federal land for the project. The Department of Agriculture said it ordered the rescission to allow for a “thorough review based on significant input from collaborators, partners and the public” after the Jan. 15 release of a final environmental impact statement on the project.... Read more»0

Critics grill Haaland; backers point to historic nature of nomination

While Senate Republicans used the Interior confirmation hearing for Rep. Debra Haaland to air their grievances about the Biden administration’s energy policies, supporters at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing focused mostly on the historic nature of the nomination. ... Read more»0

State of tribal nations 'strong' despite crises, but feds need to help

National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp said the state of Indian nations is strong despite long-running problems of disrespect for tribal sovereignty and of missing and murdered Indigenous women, as well as new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharp did acknowledge hopeful signs in the early days of the Biden administration.... Read more»0

Experts: Biden's Obamacare open enrollment period could be ‘really good’ for Arizona

The normal period for Americans to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act ended Dec. 15, but President Biden called for a special 90-day open enrollment period in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that health advocates say could open the door to health insurance for thousands in Arizona.... Read more»0

1 in 4 Arizonans still insist Trump won, as second impeachment begins

As the Senate began debate on an historic second impeachment of former President Donald Trump, a recent poll shows that more than half of Arizona Republicans believe Trump was the rightful winner of the November election. ... Read more»0

Biden holds up Arizona’s mass vaccination sites as a model for nation

President Joe Biden called Arizona’s around-the-clock COVID-19 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium a “model for the nation” Monday, as the administration pushes its goal of administering 100 million shots in its first 100 days. Arizona Department of Health Services said it has administered more than 920,000 doses of vaccine.... Read more»0

Apache make emotional appeal to court to halt proposed copper mine

Members of the group Apache Stronghold told a federal district judge Wednesday that the federal government violated their due process rights by rushing through the final approval last month, just days before President Donald Trump left office. They also claim the mine would violate their constitutional right to worship.... Read more»0

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