Let the Mt. Graham Telescopes Proceed
The time has come for a group of self-serving extremists and obstructionists to stop trying to make the UA's Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham as expensive as possible. I write in reference to the so-called Apache Survival Coalition's (ASC) latest cynical and wasteful ploy to stop the construction of this telescope with another frivolous law suit.
The courts have found that the University of Arizona has done all the studies and consulting necessary to perform science on Mt. Graham and comply with the law.
The Congress has passed two separate bills, the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act and an amendment passed by Rep. Jim Kolbe, to allow the LBT to proceed. Polls have shown that more than 70 percent of Arizonans favor allowing the LBT to be completed. But the other side in this debate will not listen to any opinion but their own.
In fact, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in denying the ASC's last baseless appeal that anti-telescope litigators "appear not to recognize the will of Congress."
Judge Carl Muecke ruled in July of 1996 that the anti-telescope agitators "are attempting to circumvent the Ninth Circuit Court's decision about the LBT and Mt. Graham by inappropriately raising" irrelevant issues" in a lawsuit.
The courts did not reward the telescope opponents for this crude deception. The ASC, says, patronizingly, that the UA "speaks with a forked tongue," but it is the telescope opponents who have shown a willingness to distort and misrepresent.
The courts have found their legal claims baseless. More money will be spent on legal bills. And the telescope will be built. The ASC's increasingly clumsy, crude and desperate law suits will accomplish nothing, and deservedly so. The increasing weakness in their legal arguments reflects the ASC's willingness to sacrifice the truth and principles before the goal of stopping the LBT at any cost.
The activities of this anti-telescope group, composed largely of the same white men who sued to stop the LBT over the status of the Red Squirrel, makes the work of the environmentalists who want to get things done and fight on issues of relevance much harder.
As an environmentalist, I ask the ASC's Robin Silver, SEAC and other LBT opponents to focus their considerable energies into more productive crusades.
Enough is enough. Or too much.
By Jennifer Marshall.
Arizona Daily Wildcat.
April 30, 1997.