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Changes few in new gravel mine document

NORTH BEND - A Christmas present of sorts arrived last week when the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) released the final version of a six-volume environmental document for Cadman Inc.'s proposed Grouse Ridge gravel mine.

In comparing the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) to the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) published June 15, 2000, few changes have been made to the overall project. Much of the sheer bulk of the FEIS is made up of questions submitted by residents following publication of the DEIS and additional comments, which comprise three volumes, as well as technical appendices of supporting studies.

All six volumes can be purchased from DDES, or viewed on the agency's Web site, www.metrokc.gov/ddes, and at the North Bend Library.

Cadman's project manager for the proposed Grouse Ridge gravel mine, Robin Hansen, was out of the office Friday. But in a written statement, she said the company is glad to have moved a large step forward in obtaining the clearing and grading permit needed from the county to begin construction.

"Completion of the FEIS clears a major milestone in the permitting process," she said. "This is one of the most comprehensive EIS's done by King County in recent years. We're pleased that the county and its consultant, URS, have done such a thorough assessment of the environmental issues and identified initiatives we can take to mitigate potential impacts."

But the timing of the document's release have some muttering "Bah, humbug!"

"We weren't really happy that it came out when it did, right before Christmas," said Jeff Martine, president of the Cascade Gateway Foundation, which was formed to oppose the gravel mine.

One idea his group has advanced is using Exit 38 on Interstate 90 for truck access to the proposed gravel mine. Cadman plans to mine gravel on a 260-acre "upper" site on the Grouse Ridge plateau and and 33-acre "lower" site near Ken's Truck Town, using 5,300-foot-long conveyor to connect the two areas. Under the current proposal, trucks would be loaded with gravel at the lower site, using Exit 34 to get on and off I-90.

That truck traffic would travel near the Snoqualmie Valley School District's site for a future school. Cascade Gateway maintains

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