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Blasting not good for homeowners
I live in Snoqualmie, 500 feet from the Snoqualmie Sand and Gravel
Pit, operated by Glacier Northwest (formerly known as Lone Star
Northwest). The land that the pit operates on is owned by the Weyerhaeuser
Company. The King County Regional Trail runs along one side of the pit,
and Tokul Creek, which is home to rainbow, cutthroat and Eastern
Brook trout, and winter/summer steelhead, fall chinook and coho salmon,
borders another. I just received from the King County Department of
Development and Environmental Services notice of application for this operation to
begin hard-rock mining in addition to its sand and gravel production. A
public hearing for this "revision" is not
required. This operation has never been required to submit an
Environmental Impact Statement.
Currently, I can hear all the operations from the pit at my home. The
pit is located over the fluctuating Tokul Creek Delta Aquifer, which
supplies this community with water. Less than two years ago, the same type of
operation, run by the Cadman Company, damaged an aquifer in Monroe and
left that community "dry." The dynamite blasts (registering 3.5 on a
Richter Scale according to a consulted geologist) and resultant vibration,
according to the company's checklist, "has a near-zero probability" of damaging
a structure built according to UBC (Uniform Building Codes). The
majority of the homes in this community were built pre-UBC. My own home
was built in 1920.
Reviewing this permit is the Department of Development and
Environmental Services. Developer permits pay for 100 percent of its
operation. In a report prepared by Public Employees for Environmental
Policy, an agency formed to protect public employees who blow the whistle
on wrongdoing at work, DDES had a rating that was "alarming." PEER
conducted its survey after being contacted by a department employee. Of the
127 responses, 14 percent were from managers, and 86 percent were from
rank-and-file. In the survey, 62 percent think the department caters to
developers and permit seekers as the primary customer, putting them ahead
of residents' wishes and protection of the environment.
Glacier Northwest is owned by a multimillion dollar,
Japanese-owned concrete company, whose stock is traded on the Japanese stock
market. This company's business is to mine and sell rock. This foreign
company has one obligation, and that is to its shareholders.
My property taxes have more than doubled in the 10 years that I
have lived here and will continue to climb at that rate. Yet if the mining
operation is approved, the marketability of my home and property will be zero.
If there is anyone that thinks otherwise, hey, I have a beautiful home I
would like to sell you.
Because of the Weyerhaeuser Company and Glacier Northwest,
my American dream has turned into a nightmare.