Quarry Application Has Been Withdrawn

April 8, 2022, 7:56 p.m.

Cascade Big Bear Mine – Process summary and conclusion

After reviewing the permit application materials, updates, and clarifications submitted by the applicant for the Cascade Big Bear mine proposal, DNR conducted an informal consultation process including input from affected tribes and agencies with subject matter expertise, including Northwest Clean Air Agency, Department of Ecology, and Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Based upon DNR’s review of the application documents, and with consideration of the input received in DNR’s consultation process, DNR issued an intended SEPA threshold Determination of Significance (DS) because DNR determined that “probable significant adverse environmental impacts” are likely to result from the proposed mining operation.

On December 6, 2021 DNR met with the applicant’s SEPA consultant and conveyed its intent to issue a Determination of Significance (DS) because of these probable significant adverse environmental impacts. DNR also stated that in accordance with SEPA regulations, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be required to be completed by a consultant under the direction of DNR. If the applicant agreed to proceed, the applicant would bear the expense of the EIS process by obtaining a consultant to complete an EIS under the direction of DNR or by agreeing to reimburse DNR for the costs of retaining and overseeing the work of a consultant.

DNR requested that the applicant respond by February 25 if they agreed to proceed with this intended DS so that DNR could issue a scoping notice by March 7 (90 days from notice of intended DS in accordance with SEPA) outlining the purpose of the proposal and allowing the public, tribes, and other agencies the chance to comment on proposed alternatives and on the elements that should be included in the EIS. Upon completion, the draft EIS would go out for public, tribal, and agency comment, after which a final EIS document would be completed which would inform DNR’s decision on whether to approve or disapprove the mining application.

On February 21 the applicant requested a 30 day extension of the threshold determination which was granted by DNR.

This Monday, April 4, 2022 the applicant informed DNR that they have decided to withdraw their application.

In conclusion, DNR stated “There was no open/active SEPA process for this application. As such, no formal notification will go out, and DNR will not be issuing a determination of significance or initiating a scoping period for an EIS. In the event that the applicant decides to pursue the project in the future, a new SEPA process will be initiated. Should this occur and if DNR is SEPA lead agency, DNR will notify interested parties via our SEPA Center.”

As an interested party you will likely not hear anything further from DNR regarding this latest ”informal” SEPA process for the Cascade Big Bear Mine.Thanks for your interest and concern for our environment.

Jose Vila
Skagit River Alliance

[Photo of Big Bear Mountain by John Scurlock]