Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Alice Martinez, shown above left at the Questa Senior Center, says she lived a good life because of the mine, where her husband worked for many years.

Alice Martinez: "We had a group of Concerned Citizens here in Questa. And they were forever - I know when I was on the school board - they were forever going to us and saying that the high school should be moved out of there because the kids were being polluted and all of that. And it was a little radical bunch that was doing it. To me it was like they had an ax to grind with some of the officials there in the school district. Some of these people were fired from the mine at a certain time.

"Naturally, there is pollution. There is. There had to be. But like I told you, they've never proven that these waters have killed anybody. They've never proven that. Even when the mine was running full blast - there were spills all the time, all the time - they never proved it.

"But I still have nothing against them. They have jobs here. Needless to say, that we did have a very good life because (of the mine). And, like I tell you, the mine or an oil well or I don't care what kind of industry you bring into a town, a community, a city, you're going to have the pollution. You're going to have to deal with it.

"If you want the jobs, you're going to have to deal with it. And pray to God that nothing happens to you, that you have his protecting hand over you. There is a scripture in the Bible. If I remember, it is Isaiah 7:14, or whatever. But it says that if the people that are called by my name, would seek me and serve me, I would cure their land. It's not what it says exactly, but in essence that's what it says."

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Sandhya Ganapathy and Eirian Humphreys