I’ve spent most of my life in Las Vegas, Nevada where I was born and raised. Like most families in Vegas, mine chose to go out-of-state for our weekend vacationing and believed that the rest of the state comprised mostly of tumbleweeds and lonely roads. In more recent years, as I started diving more and more into local politics, I began to realize that rural Nevada and its many communities play a crucial part in our state’s history as well as our future. As an environmental justice/mining accountability fellow for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), I am learning more about rural towns and the many injustices low-income, working class, minority communities of color and indigenous people face; specifically with the pollution and attempted theft of their resources. This week, I got to attend a tour of an abandoned mine that has become a tyrant for the rural community of Yerington, Nevada.

Before the tour, my knowledge of Nevada mining was limited. The most detailed facts I knew about this issue were related to various tax loopholes in the state that allow mining companies to get away with paying tax rates as low as 1–2%. As important as that information is, it didn’t tell me about the communities that are directly affected by these companies. Upon arriving to the site, I was first astonished by how close these communities are to the mine.

KIMBERLY PADILLA-ESTRADA

KIMBERLY PADILLA-ESTRADA

Southern Nevada Environmental Justice Fellow

Kimberly is studying Political Science at CSN/UNLV. Her interests include environmental justice, social justice, LGBT+ rights, and Latinx civic engagement.