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Glacier says blasting to have little impact
SNOQUALMIE Residents packed Snoqualmie City Hall on
Monday to hear Glacier Northwest's presentation on how the addition of
hard-rock blasting to its Snoqualmie gravel pit location will affect the Valley.
Glacier Northwest, which owns the 270-acre Snoqualmie Sand
and Gravel operation near the Weyerhaeuser mill in
Snoqualmie, gave the presentation to inform council members of the company's
plans to mine 25 million tons of hard rock from the site.
The presentation's purpose was only to inform council members
of Glacier Northwest's intentions, since King County is responsible for
the unincorporated area where the pit exists. The City Council will submit
its comments on the project based on the information and additional research.
"We're not here to take any (public) comment on this issue as a
city; we're here just to listen so we can have a better understanding of what's
going on so we can form some kind of opinion on our own,"
Snoqualmie Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher said.
The company, formerly known as Lone Star, has applied to expand
daily operating hours and extend the life of the project, originally slated to
end within a few years, to the year 2050 or beyond. An environmental
checklist is currently under review by the county.
Glacier representative Ron Summers said each blast is monitored,
and if done correctly, will produce little sound or dust for the Valley.
"It's a very scientifically designed and controlled process," he said.
"We've done a number of studies, had a number of experts look at it
and prepare what we call an environmental checklist," he added,
explaining that it's an expanded checklist that is more thorough than checklists done
at other sites.
Summers said upon neighbors' requests, Glacier will contact
nearby homeowners prior to each blast. The company plans to begin blasting
once a week, but could increase to three times a week as time goes on and
the demand for larger rock rises.
Council members did have questions of their own upon hearing
the presentation. Councilwoman Colleen Johnson questioned Glacier
representatives about the cumulative effect of blasting on the area's aquifers.
"In my mind, that's what wears on the environment," she said. "My
concern is what impact over a 50-year period (this causes) to wells."
Other council members were concerned with how blasting could
affect wells and soil and impact traffic on State Route 202. The session was
only one hour long and the council will study the proposal further.
Summers said company representatives are willing to work with
residents and the city any way they can to explain the operation, give
warnings when blasting and measure wells prior to blasting.