Neil McCabe

Opposing the Lujan-Cole team is the lead sponsor of the land-swap bill, Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R.-Ariz.). Gosar, in a strong “Dear Colleague” letter decimated the arguments for the Lujan amendment, when he pointed out the nearest Indian reservation is 20 miles away from the site of the new mine.

Gosar wrote to his colleagues that in 2008, the Forest Service conducted a survey of the mine site for areas that could be associated with native religious practices and after its investigation issued a Finding of No Significant Impact report.

Politicians are sometimes compared to actors, but the more helpful comparison is to magicians, who perform their tricks with one hand as the audience is watching the other.

As everyone is focused on the fights to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, raise the debt ceiling and figure out the budget for fiscal year 2014, environmentalists lobbying against extension of the Keystone XL pipeline slipped a simple amendment on a simple bill.

Make no mistake, H.R.687 is supported by Democrats and Republicans in the Arizona delegation, as well as local officials and media in the state. Not only would it create jobs and economic growth in Arizona, the new mine will help America’s “copper gap,” which has the country importing 600,000 metric tons of copper annually.

The Lujan amendment was designed to piggyback on a bill that will easily pass Congress, and when it is only after it became law that its true purpose would be revealed. Fortunately, alert conservatives took a hard look at an amendment to protect sacred sites, where there were none, and connected the dots before it was too late.

Neil McCabe

Neil W. McCabe is a journalist working in Washington. He was a senior reporter for the Human Events newspaper and for many years a reporter for The Pilot, Boston's Catholic paper. In 2009, he deployed to Iraq with the Army as a combat historian for 15 months.