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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.

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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 Hazards

June 1, 2021


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URGENT: Please comment on the Marblemount mine proposal

May 25, 2021


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Sierra Club Letter: DNR has no authority to process the new application

May 25, 2021


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SRA Letter to County Officials re: Slope Stability and Hazard

April 28, 2021


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Big Problem with "Cascade Big Bear Mine" Proposal and Permitting Process

April 20, 2021


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Geologic Hazard Critical classification in 2011. Has this changed?

April 12, 2021


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Marblemount Quarry Permit Review Assumed by DNR, not Skagit County, Sparks Outcry

Feb. 26, 2021


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WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife explains why an EIS should be required

Nov. 15, 2020


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Comment From Kate and Larry Stram

Nov. 13, 2020


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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


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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


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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]

Contact

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