They worried that air quality would suffer.
They complained about the prospect of diminished property values.
They fretted over increased noise pollution and water waste.
More than 600 residents attended a public meeting at Coronado High School on Wednesday night to oppose a proposed mining operation on federal land west of Henderson. Scores were turned away from the overcapacity meeting because of concerns about fire codes.
They came to tell officials with the federal Bureau of Land Management that the only acceptable decision is the rejection of the project.
"Our health and the health of our children are at stake," one female speaker said.
Other opponents of the proposed open pit sand and gravel quarries near the Sloan Hills are Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., and the rest of the state's congressional delegation
The Clark County Commission also stands in unanimous opposition, with thousands of nearby residents whose wholesale resistance could sway the final decision on the proposed operation.
Robert Cutter, a regional vice president for CEMEX, one of two companies involved, said that the project would provide high-quality aggregate for construction purposes and that the site is "strategically important" to future development in the Las Vegas Valley.
He also said that the project would create good-paying jobs and that the company is committed to operating in an environmentally sound manner.
The bureau released its final environmental impact statement last spring. Up to 10 million tons of aggregate -- limestone and dolomite -- would be mined each year of the projected 30-year life of the mine in two open pits that would merge into a large one if the companies have their way.
The two quarries would sit on 640 acres, a square mile, and would use traditional open pit mining methods that include drilling, blasting, excavating, processing and hauling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The project also would put tons of pollutants into the air each year, the BLM's environment impact statement said.
The site is less than three miles from the Southern Highlands, Anthem and Inspirada subdivisions, where more than 12,000 families live. It is also less than 500 feet from the protected Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.
Of the five possible alternatives the BLM provided in its environmental impact statement, the only one that earned applause was the one to reject the application from Mexico-based CEMEX and Service Rock Products.
Spokeswomen for Reid and Heller read letters in opposition to the project, a rare alliance in Congress these days, one man said.
"The BLM should heed the unified public opposition and administratively put an end to the risky project," said Reid spokeswoman Sara Moffat, reading a letter from the senator.
Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, whose district includes residents living in the Anthem and Inspirada subdivisions, said defeating the mine proposal is his primary goal as a commissioner.
The final meeting the BLM will hold this week starts at 6 p.m. today at Liberty High School, 2700 Liberty Heights Ave.
Contact Doug McMurdo at dmcmurdo@reviewjournal. com or 702-224-5512.