Strong Opposition Rising Against Marblemount Quarry Project Application

Strong Opposition Rising Against Marblemount Quarry Project Application

Strong opposition is rising against an application by Kiewit Infrastructure Company of Vancouver, Washington, for a “Mining Special Use Permit” to leverage an existing twenty acre quarry near Marblemount to approximately 79 acres.

Kiewit is seeking permission to remove about 3.8 million cubic yards of stone. According to the application’s traffic study, the project anticipates, “260 daily trips, split 130 in and 130 out, with: 100 truck trips related to jetty stone hauling, split 50 in and 50 out, 50 truck trips related to non-jetty stone hauling, split 25 in and 25 out, 70 total employee trips, split 35 in and 35 out, and 40 service, vendor and delivery vehicle trips, split 20 in and 20 out.” This is a huge level of heavy traffic which will affect people and communities all along the Skagit Valley.

Just to get going, the operation will require the removal of 2.7 million board feet of timber from 90 acres of land, plus the construction of a one mile long gravel road to the top of quarry area slope. Construction of the gravel road will require excavation of about 235,200 cubic yards and placement of about 550,400 cubic yards of soil and rock.

All in all, this is a massive project. The applicant is describing it as an “expansion,” but it’s an entirely new venture that envisions taking the mountain down.  The existing quarry is entirely depleted and inactive. This permit is completely new in quarrying location, access, elevation, type of material, quarrying logistics and methods, scale of operation, overall footprint, proximity of residences, and impacts to surrounding areas. Previous rock removal activity involved no more than taking loose rock from the base of a slope in small batches with no more than ten truck loads a day.

This outrageous venture envisions blasting and massive removals of stone from within the mountain. The noise and dust and damage to the environment is entirely incompatible with the tranquil nature of the rural residential community surrounding the area.

Skagit County needs to fix the completely erroneous and misleading description of this venture on its website.

Initial handling of the special permit application has been quick and dirty, with insufficient time and effort being given to involving citizens and interests who share concern for the well-being of the lives of the people living in the area, the wildlife of the area and the environment.

There should be an extension of the public comment period under the State Environmental Policy Act due to the quantity of documents to review and the limited time provided. Citizens were not provided with timely information or sufficient time or opportunity to participate in considering this permit application.

We’re asking for a Determination of Significance under WAC197-11-330 and to require an Environmental Impact Statement due to the significant effect on the local environment, especially considering the quiet, remote nature of the surrounding community and environment. This would require much more extensive review and public comment before the project could proceed. Skagit County must make a serious effort to promote citizen discussion regarding the application and its merits.

The quarry site is off Rockport-Cascade Road as shown on this map from the permit application. (Click on image to expand).

Here is another image of the quarry site from the permit application file.

Letters of opposition to the permit application should be sent to Skagit County Planning and Development Services by March 29, 2019.

Skagit County
Planning and Development Services
1800 Continental Place
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Better yet, submit comments via this Skagit County Planning and Development Services permit application comment page:  Comment Page. (We’re feeling very critical of Skagit County Planning and Development Services for not providing a clearly visible link to this public comment page on the page describing the permit application. Indeed, such a link should be prominently displayed on every page describing all permit applications. It’s understandable that citizens would assess this failure as an expression of disinterest in promoting citizen participating in the permit application process).

Here is a link to Skagit County’s web page containing access to use permit application details. We recommend close study of the application:  Kiewit Special Use Permit Application Details

Here is a link to Kiewit’s description of its project:  Kiewit’s Project Description

Opponents of this project have created a Facebook page. Stop The Marblemount Quarry

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  • Beth Dorman
    March 27, 2019, 4:27 am

    Please do not destroy any more of our beautiful area, we need to keep the river as clean as possible. The traffic is already a concern. So many large trucks will be a danger to our community. Tje wildlife need to keep their habitat. Allow sufficent time for comments and concerns to be addressed.

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