Special to this newspaper
WASHINGTON (MNS) — Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt yesterday approved a decision to block construction of the Glamis Imperial gold mine project proposed for eastern Imperial County.
The decision, recommended by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, marked the first time a mining project was turned down because it would have caused ‘‘undue impairment or degradation'' of the area.
Quechan Tribe members were concerned that the mine would endanger the land's spiritual, archaeological and historic value.
Mike Jackson, president of the Quechan Tribe, tearfully expressed the tribe's thanks to Babbitt for his action.
‘‘The land was very precious to (our ancestors) and it still is today,'' he said.
The mine would have brought 120 jobs to the Imperial County area, according to Glamis officials. But Jackson argued the jobs were not worth the risk to his tribe's land.