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Letter to the Editor: Don't allow Bill Williams Mountain to be scarred and defaced

It is the highest mountain in western Arizona, 9,300 ft. It has beautiful vistas as you climb or ride your horse or mule along the Benham Trail from bottom to the top. There is a road that you can drive also. You may see deer, elk, mountain lions, foxes, turkeys, bobcats, squirrel, chipmunks and a vast variety of birds, including bald eagles. Near the top you may encounter a beautiful assortment of butterflies, lady bugs and moths.

The town of Williams’ identity is synonymous with this mountain from parades to Bill Williams Mountain Men. To allow the scarring and defacing of this landmark is beyond believable.

I am writing to encourage all concerned citizens to contact your new governor & representatives. They are our representatives and should show concern for the people of Arizona. Ask for their help in repeal-ing/changing the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872.

We need answers from the federal government, state of Arizona, the BLM and Arizona Game & Fish (and possibly other entities) that are willing to lease our mountain…destroy our mountain. There is no amount of money that can replace our loss. This is our identity as well our town’s.

South American owned Drake Cement LLC, began staking March 2022. They have not begun mining to date. They are mining for pozzolan to replace fly ash which is found in coal. Doesn’t this sound like we are replacing one environmental concern with another? Drake plans to remove 300,000 – 500,000 tons of material annually within 20 years. Plant facilities, excavators, bulldozers, trucks will be used to strip the forest within. If they are successful it won’t stop there. Look at the destruction of Kirkland. Are we going to allow them to destroy our mountain?

Your involvement is vital. Please visit our website https://protectourmountain.wixsite.com/protect-bill-williams

Madelyn Smith

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