Geologic Hazard Critical classification in 2011. Has this changed?

April 12, 2021, 9:47 p.m.

We have been reaching out to geologists and others at DNR with concerns outlined below, and have received no replies, even when replies were promised. This letter was sent to Tom Bugert, Hillary Franz’s Deputy Chief of Staff at Washington Department of Natural Resources.

"Tom, the "complex structural nature" of the slope (Big Bear Mountain) has been repeatedly identified by DNR in the past as a significant potential hazard to mining activity. We believe that mining may also create conditions that could present a hazard to the neighboring homes at the base of the same slope.To quote Rian Skov in a letter from 2011: "...the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determined that a thorough geotechnical slope stability study will be required... if mining is to be conducted on site. The slope stability requirement comes from the complex structural nature of the site coupled with a mining plan which proposes removal of slope restraining force (talus material) as the initial phase of mining. The study must detail the geologic structure of the site, address how mining operations will affect slope stability and, if applicable, give recommendations for mining operations which minimize the potential of slope destabilization".

For this current permit application which proposes to remove the entire 310 foot high ancient talus formation at the base of the slope, to remove the entire slope restraining force from below, an operation that DNR considers a potential risk to miners, would seem to be extremely risky and irresponsible without the studies DNR has indicated in the past.
This study was a requirement of Kiewit's Skagit County Planning and Development Services permit application in 2019 but the study was never undertaken because Kiewit closed the application when they were not awarded the MOC South Jetty project.

For this current application being handled by DNR, DNR has not required a thorough geotechnical slope stability study. 

Although many comments have pointed out this omission and asked for the study, DNR has yet to respond or acknowledge this very significant potential impact and safety risk. 

Why is DNR no longer requiring a thorough geotechnical slope stability study? Has the structural nature of the site changed?

This site is also classified as Geologic Hazard Critical for three factors and lies on a major N-S Cascade faultline, hazards that could only be compounded by activities that increase slope destabilization.

Thanks for looking into this Tom, we would appreciate a response.

Jose Vila
Skagit River Alliance"