That had to be one of the dumbest "environmental" battles ever fought, making all environmentalists look like a bunch of idiots. A relative of mine worked at the U of A at the time that whole thing went down, and they were having their teensy little protests there. He called them the "scope mopes" in reference to the telescopes, which were, of course, part of the controversy. He happened to work security, so he had to go talk to them, (mostly all Earth Firster/Rainbow Family/don't-believe-in-baths types.) His job was to tell them which campus areas they could use for the protest, etc. So then they were all in his face, telling him what an important protest this was, etc. "look at all the people who showed up!" they said. (It was less than 100 as I recall.) But my relative, being an old Vietnam war protester, retorted, "You call this a protest? I've been to protests in Washington DC that had over a hundred thousand people!"
Then the Apaches got into it, tried to convince all of us honky apologist do-gooders that Mt. Graham had always been "sacred" to them, and because we are all so ashamed of how "we" treated them 150 years ago we allow ourselves to be duped into believing them. What a crock. (The Navajos may truly have sacred mountains. When it comes to other tribes, I think it's often political convenience to say that they do. After all if the Navajos have them, why not all the rest of them?)
Another aspect of this case that came to my attention at that time is that these little environmental organizations such as Center for Biological Diversity (which do more to make the public hate, loathe and despise anything "environmental" than they do to actually SAVE anything in the environment) have learned they can hang frivolous lawsuits on the Endangered Species Act, a federal law. Thus, they have all of you convinced there was a problem with that squirrel. There wasn't a problem with the squirrel, but they could find some biologists to show evidence that the squirrel was:
A) A unique species unto itself, (which of course, was debated furiously)
B) Is actually endangered by the telescopes and by hikers.
This mis-use of the Endangered Species Act is one reason a big segment of the population wants it repealed. It's sad, because there are many animals that actually do deserve protection, that actually are endangered species. The people who wrote the law didn't realize that "new" species would be created in order to create ways to file lawsuits.
So the public is now convinced that the Mt. Graham issue was about squirrels.
They were similarly convinced by the mainstream media that the Amphi School District's Ironwood High School issue with pygmy owls was about the owls. It wasn't. It was about some rich people who lived next to the high school property who hired environmental lawyers (Center for Biological Diversity again) to prove that the pygmy owls nested there. That's what that was about, but the media (other than the very savvy Tucson Weekly) never caught on. Thus, most people in Tucson were duped, and again, they think those horrible environmentalists caused the controversy, when actually it was rich landowners who didn't want a football field next to their properties.
OPEN MT. GRAHAM! Yes, it's high time. I think the gubment is afraid to open that can of worms again, though, and just wants to let sleeping dogs lie. With good reason, I might add.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
Steal your face right off your head!