Tucson is on the verge of becoming a great modern city. To compete with other great cities, to attract the extraordinary industry and talent, we have to preserve our signature assets: it is beautiful, and a desirable place to live. But we are savaging that beauty. Air quality is also declining, with the winds whipping dust off the tailings piles around the existing mines.
Degrading the Santa Ritas will change the economic trajectory of Tucson in exchange for a paltry sum. We all know what the Rosemont pit will look like. The road to Sonoita — a famous scenic byway — will become another drive past a mine that has destroyed the view, clogged with mining trucks for the next 19 years. Then the mine will be shut down, the jobs and copper gone. You'll never get the view back. You will breathe the tailings and drink the heavy metals. Leave it in the ground until we can advance beyond open pit technology, and invest in Tucson's powerful modern economy instead.
Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.