Tucson is not a particularly pretty town. In mid-summer heat the dusty roads and look-alike shopping centers shimmer and visually pollute your view. Yet look to the north and the mountains are perfect. Or go out east or west of the town and just before, or maybe well after, your patience with more ugly houses runs out, there is that beautiful desert.
I once took my family out into the beautiful desert for a picnic. Disaster hardly describes the bugs and the heat and the dirty sand. We should have guessed: we were the only people in the picnic area parking lot. From then on it was to the Desert Museum or Old Tucson where corporate control produces a semblance of shade and entertainment.
These crass Disney-appreciation-like thoughts are prompted by a report in today’s news of protests over a new mine south of Tucson. My recollection of that area is a huge airfield and more old planes than than you can count and then industrial sprawl and then nothing. Maybe I just never got past the industrial sprawl.
In the best American fashion those without jobs are supporting the proposed Rosemont mine, and those with jobs are protesting the mine. And in the best American tradition we have the silliest of reasons given for not building the mine. One that comes up every time people protest development is the impact of more traffic on the Interstate:
But for Mylan Webb, a junior at Cienega High School, the mine would make a safety hazard on Interstate 10 where her parents drive to work each day. “My dad drives 100 miles round-trip to work and uses vegetable oil for fuel — he uses the same interstate that will be used to haul copper,” she said.
Chuck Hammond of the Sonoita area held up a copper-laden cell phone and a plastic bottle of water to illustrate what he saw as a stark choice. “There’s simply not enough water left in the West for us to be able to continue to have both of these things. We will have to give up one or the other. Now I can live without the cell phone. But this I can’t live without,” he said, holding the water bottle.
Owners of Colorado’s largest gold mine are getting opposition to a $200 million plan to extend operations for four more years from an unexpected source – Cripple Creek, which was founded as a home for miners more than a century ago. That’s because the plan would extend open-pit mining into areas that would remove trees from a ridge just east of Cripple Creek, which now depends more on gamblers than miners for its economic fortunes.
The city wants Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co., owned by South African mining giant AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., to provide easements to extend a former tourist railroad from Cripple Creek to Victor, donate matching funds to build a recreation center for the two towns, design and build a historic site for century-old mining head frames and other equipment and ban its trucks from traveling through Cripple Creek, among other conditions.