Opinion

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.



Diane Brace


Snoqualmie

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