Apaches ask appeals court to oppose transfer of Arizona land

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FILE – This June 15, 2015, file photo shows in the distance, part of the Resolution Copper Mining land-swap project in Superior, Ariz. A group of Apaches who have tried for years to reverse a land swap in Arizona that will make way for one of the largest and deepest copper mines in the U.S. sued the federal government Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Apache Stronghold argues in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona that the U.S. Forest Service cannot legally transfer land to international mining company Rio Tinto in exchange for eight parcels the company owns around Arizona. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — An attorney for members of the San Carlos Apache tribe has asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to back a nonprofit group’s efforts to keep a copper mining company from gaining federal Arizona land the Apaches consider sacred.

The attorney for Apache Stronghold said Friday the transfer would affect the survival of the Apache people. An attorney for the U.S. government responded that the transfer must proceed because it was part of legislation approved by Congress.

The three-court panel did not immediately issue a ruling and will release a decision later.

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