What's wrong with this picture?

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By The Staff

Remember the various sorting exercises you did in kindergarten to learn differentiation? Maybe you have five round items and one cube.

You learned “differentiation” by sorting the items into groups and determining which item did not belong.

Carry those same skills into your logic and understanding today.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) recently released their 2009 list of the 11 most endangered historic places. Ten items belong in this group.

One does not. See if you can figure out which should be thrown out. (List adapted for brevity from preservationnation.org.)

Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, Mass.; Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston, Texas; Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, Calif.; Dorchester Academy, Midway, Ga.; Human Services Center, Yankton, S.D.; L’na’i City, Hawaii; the Manhattan Project’s Enola Gay Hangar, Wendover Airfield, Utah; Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth, N.H. to Kittery, Maine; Miami Marine Stadium, Virginia Key, Fla.; Mount Taylor, near Grants, N.M.; Unity Temple, Oak Park, Ill.

What do you see as the common denominator of 10 of these 11 options?

Ten are buildings – or at least structures as is the case for the Memorial Bridge. Each of the 10 occupies a small portion of land – a few acres at the most.

The other is an entire mountain, more than 660,000 acres! No other historic place past, or presently “endangered,” occupies so much land.

So why is this misfit included in the list of endangered places?

Describing Mount Taylor, NTHP says, “(It) is a startling beautiful, sacred place ... The mountain sits atop one of the richest known reserves of uranium ore in the country … (C)urrent high demand for the ore has resulted in a renewed interest in mining the uranium deposits beneath Mount Taylor on federal, state and private lands, as well as other public and private lands in the area.”

Their claims for “preservation” are based on faulty information provided by anti-growth groups like the Sierra Club. Yes, potential mining is in process. But, no mining is planned for “the mountain.”

The mining is planned for the surrounding lands. Mining would have no impact on the supposed sacred sites on the mountain.

While the land is allegedly used for Native American ceremonies, note that the NTHP accurately states that it is Federal, state and private lands. It is not reservation or pueblo land.

Les Gaines, a local resident, addresses the “endangered” status this way: “It is a designation for a particular religious group. This designation does not set aside a specific sacred site or location, but an entire landscape of public and private lands on Mount Taylor, forever. We want the Mount Taylor landscape to remain accessible to all people, not one particular religious group. We want the multi-use of the mountain, respecting all people’s rights and beliefs, and encouraging the proper management of the natural resources. We want the rights and privileges of all groups to be considered, not just one particular religious group.”

There is concern about water quality mentioned in the NTHP listing. Yet, water experts state that any potential contamination can be cleaned, using modern technology, to more pure than natural status – though modern mining virtually eliminates any potential damage.

What’s wrong with this picture? Mount Taylor should remain usable for all citizens. That includes those within the Grants community who need the economic advantage that renewed uranium mining can bring. That includes all Americans who deserve abundant, affordable and available energy.

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit organization advocating for citizen rights to energy freedom. She can be reached at marita@responsiblenergy.org or www.responsiblenergy.org.