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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 required

Nov. 15, 2020


read more

Opposition from Mount Baker Group of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club

Nov. 13, 2020


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Swinomish Tribal Community says "no permit should issue without a complete and thorough EIS."

Nov. 13, 2020


read more

Comment From Kate and Larry Stram

Nov. 13, 2020


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Letter in Support from Local Conservation Groups

Nov. 12, 2020


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Urgent! New Mining Proposed near Marblemount

Nov. 5, 2020


read more

Archived Articles

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 Permit

May 14, 2019


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Skagit Land Trust Requests “Threshold Determination of Significance” and a Full Environmental Impact Statement

May 25, 2019


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Skagit Audubon Society: An Environmental Impact Statement Should be Required

Aug. 10, 2019


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Anything Short of a Full Study of These Impacts Would Undermine SEPA’s Purpose

July 22, 2019


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The Swinomish Tribe’s Response to a Dismissive Letter to Skagit County From Kiewit’s Attorneys

July 22, 2019


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Skagit River Alliance Letter to U. S. Senators Cantrell and Murray, U. S. Reps Larson, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith and Heck

June 12, 2019


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Big Turnout for “Let the River Sing” Fundraiser by Skagit River Alliance

Aug. 12, 2019


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No Place to Blow Up a Mountain!

May 22, 2019


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Mount Baker Group of the WA State Chapter of the Sierra Club Opposes Permitting Quarry Mine

May 13, 2019


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Andrea Weiser’s Op-Ed in Cascadia Weekly

May 9, 2019


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Blasting Bear Mountain Will Release Hazardous Asbestos

May 12, 2019


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RE Sources for Sustainable Communities Sees Many Damaging Impacts of Quarry Mine

May 5, 2019


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GuruBani Whitney’s Letter Opposing Quarry Mine

May 9, 2019


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Letter from Andrea L. Weiser Opposing Quarry Mine in Marblemount

May 15, 2019


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Join Mark and Joan in Urging Your Outdoor Recreation Organization to Oppose Quarry Mine

May 6, 2019


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Kiewit’s proposed mining activities are expressly prohibited by Skagit County zoning

July 15, 2019


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The Way It Really Is

May 4, 2019


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Robert R. Mierendorf Says No to Proposed Quarry Mine

April 30, 2019


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Proposed Quarry Mine is Not a Job Creator!

April 30, 2019


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North Cascades Institute Opposes Quarry Mine

April 29, 2019


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Proposed Marblemount Mine Site Cannot Be Permitted Without Comprehensive Plan Revision

April 27, 2019


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Dr. Jon Riedel on the Proposed Quarry Mine

April 19, 2019


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Seattle City Light Sees Significant Adverse Environmental Effects of Proposed Quarry Mine

April 26, 2019


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Letter by Claire McIlvain Against Quarry Application

April 14, 2019


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Marblemount Permit Application: Kiewit’s Use of the Term “Expansion” is Misleading

April 16, 2019


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Christie Fairchild on the Proposed Marblemount Quarry Mine

April 4, 2019


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Speaking Out Against Destroying Our Valley Home

April 2, 2019


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Kathy Young’s Letter to Skagit County Opposing Quarry Mine

March 31, 2019


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Skagit River System Cooperative’s Letter Requesting Extension of Public Comment Period and Environmental Impact Statement

April 1, 2019


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Kiewit’s proposed mining activities are expressly prohibited by Skagit County zoning

April 14, 2019


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Upper Skagit Indian Tribe Letter Opposing Marblemount Quarry

March 25, 2019


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Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Letter Requesting Extended Comment Period and Environmental Impact Statement

March 31, 2019


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Proposed Marblemount Quarry Mine Would Be a Catastrophe!

March 16, 2019


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Strong Opposition Rising Against Marblemount Quarry Project Application

March 25, 2019


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American Rivers’ Letter Asking for an Environmental Impact Statement for Quarry Mine

March 16, 2019


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Vancouver, WA, Company Trying to Leverage Old Gravel Pit Permit to Blow Up Mountain

March 16, 2019


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Full Scoped Environmental Impact Study Expected

Aug. 12, 2019


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Joint Letter Opposing Quarry Mine

May 15, 2019


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“This is a terrible idea for many reasons”

May 4, 2019


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Skagit Audubon Society Opposes Quarry

March 30, 2019


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Proposed Marblemount Quarry Mine is Surrounded by Homes

April 1, 2019


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Help anyway you can

Please email us with questions or comments: [email protected]

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Please email us with questions or comments: [email protected]