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URGENT: Please comment on the Marblemount mine proposal
Dear Community Members,
Update on the Cascade Big Bear Mine Proposal at Marblemount: On May 7 the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a notice of delayed decision for a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) threshold determination. If you have submitted comments to DNR you should have received this letter. This is our last shot at steering the SEPA decision by DNR. Please send them and the other recipients listed below an email. We need to let them know many people care. Even a brief note will help. Here are some possible points to make. Pick one or as many as you have time for.
- DNR asserts that it is the SEPA lead agency for the mine proposal. However state regulations and DNR oversight limitations clearly establish that Skagit County must be the SEPA lead. Skagit County also confirms that a search of their records shows no SEPA lead agency consultation between DNR and the County as required by state regulations.
- DNR does not regulate mine operations. DNR explains on their website: "Mine operations, which are all mine-related activities except reclamation, are specifically regulated by local governments or state and federal agencies exclusive of DNR." Because mining operations are not reviewed or regulated by DNR, environmental impact reviews from mining operations cannot be handled by DNR. DNR must hand this application to Skagit County so this process can be properly conducted.
A Determination of Significance (DS) needs to be made and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed to provide adequate environmental impact study for agency and public review.
There has been intense interest from local tribes and potential impacts to the area’s cultural resources need to be studied carefully and thoroughly. The Sauk-Suiattle, Swinomish, and Upper Skagit have urged that a DS be issued and an EIS be required.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) does not feel that “the current level of environmental review has enough information for making a threshold determination for a project with such a prolonged duration on the landscape”. WDFW urges DNR to make a DS and require an EIS.
DNR is now abandoning its prior repeated demands for a thorough geotechnical slope stability study. DNR has previously identified the heavily faulted and fractured near vertical rock face that towers more than 800 feet above the proposed mining operations area as a very serious potential safety hazard. DNR has so far refused to provide any coherent explanation about what has changed to remove all concern of this hazard. Mining experts we have talked to have stated that working the talus below the rock face would be extremely hazardous and unsafe for workers and the area surrounding the mine.
DNR has not shared any asbestos site study results. We do not know if an adequate site study has been completed. If and when an asbestos site study has been completed, this information needs to be shared for public review and comment.
The noise study cannot be reviewed without an operations plan. Work areas, work area elevations, and equipment lists are required for a noise study. DNR has told us that they do not regulate mining operations yet this is incredibly important to the residents that live near the mine and even in the entire local valley due to the way sound carries so far and reverberates so clearly.
Internal documents obtained by SRA via a Public Documents Request shows that representatives from DNR have repeatedly minimized and misrepresented the scope and scale of the operation.
When we discovered this latest proposal that had been concealed from interested parties, DNR quickly sent out a highlights email stating “Mining consists of talus removal with a crane to pick boulders for local construction projects” and “Rocks will be sized to be transported via normal dump truck”. We quickly discovered through public documents requests that the actual plan is to extract huge jettystone to be transported to Bellingham on 105,000+ pound haul truck for barging down the coast for ocean armoring projects.
Send to the email addresses below and refer to “Cascade Big Bear Mine #70-013279”
SEPA Center [email protected]
Hal Hart, Director of Skagit County Planning and Development, 360-416-1328 direct, 360-416-1320 main desk, [email protected]
Hillary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands: [email protected]
Ana Shafer, Assistant State Geologist, Assistant Director of Surface Mine Reclamation, [email protected], 253-569-2307
Rian Skov, chief reclamation geologist, 360.704.0963, [email protected]
Joe Smillie, communications manager, cell 360.688.3392, [email protected] Responsible Official: Casey R. Hanell, State Geologist and Director, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA 98504, 360-902-1439, [email protected]
Governor Inslee: Online comment form: https://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message
For convenience, if you are using email, you can copy and paste any or all of these contacts in the “To:” field of your email program:
SEPA Center [email protected]
Hal Hart <[email protected]>, Hilary Franz <[email protected]>, Ana Shafer <[email protected]>, Rian Skov <[email protected]>, Joe Smillie <[email protected]>, Casey R. Hanell <[email protected]>
New Comments and Articles
Renowned Geologist Details HazardsJune 1, 2021
URGENT: Please comment on the Marblemount mine proposalMay 25, 2021
Sierra Club Letter: DNR has no authority to process the new applicationMay 25, 2021
SRA Letter to County Officials re: Slope Stability and HazardApril 28, 2021
Big Problem with "Cascade Big Bear Mine" Proposal and Permitting ProcessApril 20, 2021
Geologic Hazard Critical classification in 2011. Has this changed?April 12, 2021
Marblemount Quarry Permit Review Assumed by DNR, not Skagit County, Sparks OutcryFeb. 26, 2021
WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife explains why an EIS should be requiredNov. 15, 2020
Comment From Kate and Larry StramNov. 13, 2020
Opposition from Mount Baker Group of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra ClubNov. 13, 2020
Swinomish Tribal Community says "no permit should issue without a complete and thorough EIS."Nov. 13, 2020
Letter in Support from Local Conservation GroupsNov. 12, 2020
Urgent! New Mining Proposed near MarblemountNov. 5, 2020
On September 16, 2019, citizens were informed by the county that Kiewit is pulling out of both the permit application process and the comprehensive plan amendment process, "Marblemount Quarry", PL19-0033. The information in this archive, along with over 800 citizen comments to our county, was part of the process that helped defeat this massive project. The new proposal, “Cascade Big Bear Mine”, DNR permit number 70-013279, is for 20 years and different is scale, but most of the environmental, health, economic and other concerns remain the same. This archive is presented as a reference and background relevant to the new proposal. The full application for last year’s threat and all comments sent to the county are still available here
Skagit River Alliance Letter Opposing Kiewit Quarry Mine Special Use PermitMay 14, 2019
Skagit Land Trust Requests “Threshold Determination of Significance” and a Full Environmental Impact StatementMay 25, 2019
Skagit Audubon Society: An Environmental Impact Statement Should be RequiredAug. 10, 2019
Anything Short of a Full Study of These Impacts Would Undermine SEPA’s PurposeJuly 22, 2019
The Swinomish Tribe’s Response to a Dismissive Letter to Skagit County From Kiewit’s AttorneysJuly 22, 2019
Skagit River Alliance Letter to U. S. Senators Cantrell and Murray, U. S. Reps Larson, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith and HeckJune 12, 2019
Big Turnout for “Let the River Sing” Fundraiser by Skagit River AllianceAug. 12, 2019
No Place to Blow Up a Mountain!May 22, 2019
Mount Baker Group of the WA State Chapter of the Sierra Club Opposes Permitting Quarry MineMay 13, 2019
Andrea Weiser’s Op-Ed in Cascadia WeeklyMay 9, 2019
Blasting Bear Mountain Will Release Hazardous AsbestosMay 12, 2019
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities Sees Many Damaging Impacts of Quarry MineMay 5, 2019
GuruBani Whitney’s Letter Opposing Quarry MineMay 9, 2019
Letter from Andrea L. Weiser Opposing Quarry Mine in MarblemountMay 15, 2019
Join Mark and Joan in Urging Your Outdoor Recreation Organization to Oppose Quarry MineMay 6, 2019
Kiewit’s proposed mining activities are expressly prohibited by Skagit County zoningJuly 15, 2019
The Way It Really IsMay 4, 2019
Robert R. Mierendorf Says No to Proposed Quarry MineApril 30, 2019
Proposed Quarry Mine is Not a Job Creator!April 30, 2019
North Cascades Institute Opposes Quarry MineApril 29, 2019
Proposed Marblemount Mine Site Cannot Be Permitted Without Comprehensive Plan RevisionApril 27, 2019
Dr. Jon Riedel on the Proposed Quarry MineApril 19, 2019
Seattle City Light Sees Significant Adverse Environmental Effects of Proposed Quarry MineApril 26, 2019
Letter by Claire McIlvain Against Quarry ApplicationApril 14, 2019
Marblemount Permit Application: Kiewit’s Use of the Term “Expansion” is MisleadingApril 16, 2019
Christie Fairchild on the Proposed Marblemount Quarry MineApril 4, 2019
Speaking Out Against Destroying Our Valley HomeApril 2, 2019
Kathy Young’s Letter to Skagit County Opposing Quarry MineMarch 31, 2019
Skagit River System Cooperative’s Letter Requesting Extension of Public Comment Period and Environmental Impact StatementApril 1, 2019
Kiewit’s proposed mining activities are expressly prohibited by Skagit County zoningApril 14, 2019
Upper Skagit Indian Tribe Letter Opposing Marblemount QuarryMarch 25, 2019
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Letter Requesting Extended Comment Period and Environmental Impact StatementMarch 31, 2019
Proposed Marblemount Quarry Mine Would Be a Catastrophe!March 16, 2019
Strong Opposition Rising Against Marblemount Quarry Project ApplicationMarch 25, 2019
American Rivers’ Letter Asking for an Environmental Impact Statement for Quarry MineMarch 16, 2019
Vancouver, WA, Company Trying to Leverage Old Gravel Pit Permit to Blow Up MountainMarch 16, 2019
Full Scoped Environmental Impact Study ExpectedAug. 12, 2019
Joint Letter Opposing Quarry MineMay 15, 2019
“This is a terrible idea for many reasons”May 4, 2019
Skagit Audubon Society Opposes QuarryMarch 30, 2019
Proposed Marblemount Quarry Mine is Surrounded by HomesApril 1, 2019
Please email us with questions or comments: [email protected]