Beyond our line of vision, how easy for us to ignore the grievous news from Skull Valley, 20 miles down the hill from Prescott. We need to pay attention though, to the plight of this eye-filling stretch of nature, its stunning rock formations, one resembling a mother bear bending over her cub, and to the small populace living there, worrying over water. 35,000 gallons will be used every day -- not for people, but for dust.

We ignore Skull Valley’s plight at our own peril. The behemoth of an open pit mine in the works there, its heavy boot will stomp over all of us: over the little towns downhill from Skull Valley, and over Prescott and its environs. Eighty-five dump trucks will lumber uphill everyday bearing pozzolan (a material containing cancer-causing silica), in their beds. Spewing dust into the wind along Iron Springs Road, the trucks will galumph along the tree-lined subdivisions and camps, that part of Prescott that says Welcome Home to its people. The trucks will then carry their precious cargo through other small communities along the route to Paulden to be used in creating cement.

Already encumbered with the specter of new growth and its own water worries, Prescott does not need the dregs from an open pit mine. To submit comments to the BLM for public record, (deadline Sept. 11), send email to: KIRKMPO@BLM.GOV. For more on the Kirkland Mine, visit www.kirklandmineforum.org

Frances K. Thomas