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Urgent! New Mining Proposed near Marblemount
New Mining Proposed near Marblemount (at the same location of the formerly proposed Kiewit operation).
Cascade Big Bear Mine Permit Application Number 70-013279
Cunningham Crushing, Inc. applied for a surface mining permit from the WA Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to mine the same property on Rockport Cascade Road that was applied for last year by Kiewit Infrastructure through Skagit County Planning and Development. This new proposal still leaves us with significant concerns.
This proposal is to remove the entire 311-foot high talus formation of boulders with a big crane and other unspecified heavy mining equipment below the vertical 800 foot face of Big Bear Mountain. Large boulders of this material would be split with explosives or hydraulics into smaller pieces and be trucked out in “standard haul trucks’. The proposal estimates the amount of material in this large talus formation to be 1.2 million tons, that's 120,000 haul trucks loaded with 20,000 pounds of rock, every weekday, for twenty+ years!
This potential first phase reopening of a surface mine on this site has been repeatedly denied by DNR over the past twenty years for safety reasons due to the “jointed and fractured” condition of the rock wall. Despite the significant potential hazard of further talus removal as identified by DNR, and despite many of the same significant impacts as last year’s proposal which led Skagit County to determine that a full study of impacts (EIS) was needed, DNR has already made a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS). Concerned parties were successful in re-opening the comment period.
Please note the short turnaround time for submitting comments:
November 12, 2020 by 4:30 pm.
What can you do?
- Email the following address to get on DNR’s notification list about this project [email protected]and reference the project or surface mining permit by name “Cascade Big Bear Mine” and permit number 70-013279 in your email.
- Read the application materials which can be found under Surface Mining Reclamation Permit #70-013279 at the bottom of this web page: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/mineral-resources
- Submit Comments via:
o Email: [email protected]
o Snail Mail:
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ENVIRONMENTAL & LEGAL AFFAIRS – SEPA CENTER
PO BOX 47015
OLYMPIA, WA 98504-7015
o Mention the project by name and number - Cascade Big Bear Mine and #70-013279.
Suggested Comment Points
- There is potential for asbestos from the Shuksan greenschist to be released as dust during splitting, blasting, and crushing. Air and water borne asbestos poses safety risks to workers, neighbors and others on the transport route. An investigation of the site for asbestos has never been done. Insist on a thorough and scientifically valid sampling and analysis of the material proposed for disturbance and removal. DNR acknowledges asbestos found in the rock would stop the project from moving forward. Answering this question is critical to the health and safety of workers and local residents! The nearest house is ~600 feet away!
- Potential impacts should require study that is appropriate for the scope of the project – i.e., an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate potential impacts to people, plants, fish and wildlife, water, etc.
- The EIS should evaluate impacts to other resources like roads & the associated increase in congestion and reduction in traffic safety (for example at the intersection of Hwy 530 and Hwy 20);
- Other impacts to surrounding neighbors and community need to be considered such as noise, dust, and vibration.
- Impacts from transport and detrimental impacts to the local economy need to be considered.
- Impacts to Indian tribes and culturally important sites need to be considered.
- SRA is concerned about DNR leading a process for a proposal that has so many potential community-related effects. Skagit County could co-lead the process with them. DNR is not accustomed to considering private landowner or community impacts or potentially detrimental impacts to the local economy (e.g., from loss of ecotourism, for example).
- We have serious concerns that the 1976 permit issued by Skagit County is no longer relevant for the current operating conditions.
- The SEPA checklist is brief and lacks documentation on studies which support statements made in the application and SEPA checklist.
- The application is missing important details for evaluating impacts and there is no traffic study, no pollution study, no wildlife studies, no asbestos mineral study, and an inadequate noise study and geotechnical study.
- Previous proposals to mine this talus were denied by DNR because of concern for unstable rock in the cliffs above. This previous requirement for a geotechnical study appears to have been disregarded and DNR has provided no explanation.
- There is a large discrepancy in the volume of rock material proposed to be removed (1.2 million tons) and the ability for an operation with 6 truck loads out a day, 5 days a week for 20 years to remove that much material.
New Comments and Articles
WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife explains why an EIS should be requiredNov. 15, 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
Comment From Kate and Larry StramNov. 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]