People were outraged at the way the Resolution Copper Mining (RCM) finally achieved their land exchange in Arizona. It was the underhanded way Senator John McCain got the legislation passed that fueled the anger, but what many are not aware of is that the swap may not have been possible without the efforts of certain environmental groups. Conservation efforts functioned as currency for Resolution’s access to land, so the land grab could also be called a green grab. Green grabs are taking place in Arizona and beyond, especially around water. The Resolution Copper land exchange provides us with a way to understand the utility of the partnerships corporations forge to gain access to coveted resources.
Arizona’s chances of facing reductions to the state’s portion of water from the Colorado River by 2018 are close to 50%. Various water experts have asserted that addressing unresolved tribal water rights claims should be a top priority. Arizona’s priorities become clear as we see whose access to the water remains more secure.