Mount Baker Group of the WA State Chapter of the Sierra Club Opposes Permitting Quarry Mine

Mount Baker Group of the WA State Chapter of the Sierra Club Opposes Permitting Quarry Mine

Concerning the Kiewet Infrastructure Marblemount Quarry proposal (PL19-0032, PL19-0033,PL19-0047, BP19-0070)

 Dear Skagit Planning and Development Services,

The Mount Baker Group of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club (MBGSC) represents over 2500 members in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties, and opposes the permitting of the Kiewit Infrastructure Company’s plans for the Marblemount Quarry (KIMQ). Since we first commented in March, during the first comment period, there have been many excellent comments made raising the issues of truck safety, truck pollution, mining pollution, the disturbance of the local citizens’ rural way of life and the disturbance of the local fauna. Recently, three of our members visited the site and observed a pair of nesting peregrine falcons on the cliffs of the mountain slated for destruction. These birds are Federal Species of Concern and are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They need to be protected from this mining operation.There also have been well written letters detailing the regulatory errors in the KIMQ’s applications, involving the Mineral Resource Overlay areas, the Growth Management Act and the Skagit County Comprehensive Plan. The MBGSC urges Planning and Development to apply its regulations to this project and make the applicant follow Skagit County’s proper procedural paths and conform to its rules.

The Sierra Club was formed in 1892 and supported the establishment  of the National Park Service in 1916. It has been instrumental in the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia/King’s Canyon, and Mt. Rainier National Parks. The Club was the leading force in keeping dams out of Grand Canyon and Dinosaur National Parks. In 1968 the Sierra Club led the campaign to establish the North Cascades National Park (NCNP). The park has the most extensive glacial system of any area in the lower 48 states, and the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American park.  Almost all the NCNP is designated as the the Stephen Mather Wilderness (SMW). The western boundary of the NCNP and the SMW  are just a few miles from the KIMQ site.

The concept of National Parks as stand-alone islands of preservation of particular outstanding features has evolved into recognition that the ecosystems that the parks preserve extend beyond their surveyed and man-made boundaries. Many parks and monuments have been expanded to include the watersheds and mountain ranges that are the central geographic hearts of the parks. Other parks have been protected by the banning of extractive industries around them. Arches National Park was thus protected early in the Obama administration when the Interior Dept. halted the destructive seismic exploration for gas and oil around its edges due to the real concern the vibrations from the seismic thumping could weaken and ruin the many arches that the park is famous for. The KIMQ poses a similar existential threat to the integrity of the wilderness qualities of the NCNP. The treasure that is the NCNP cannot be measured against the profits of a multinational company that has no honest interest in the value of the natural resources of the Park and the Skagit Valley, and the lifestyles of the citizens who have chosen to live near their beloved Park. The area around Rockport and Marblemount have the same features as found within the NCNP. The Skagit River pristinely flows out of the park within 1000 feet of the mine site. Old growth Douglas Fir forest is preserved in Rockport State Park. The rare and protected species that make the Park their home, such as the Canada Lynx, the fisher (recently re-introduced by WDFW in the KIMQ area), wolverines and wolves make use of the National Forest, Washington State and private lands adjoining the NCNP. This last category of course, includes the KIMQ, and its property must not be allowed to become an extractive sacrifice zone that will degrade the NCNP and the Skagit Valley beyond repair. The NCNP belongs to all Americans, it is truly a national treasure and irreplaceable. The uncertainty of climate change is already having adverse effects upon the Park and its glaciers. We must not allow a private for profit with plans for 100 years of blasting, mining and hauling to destroy the the North Cascades National Park and the Skagit Valley.Concerning the Kiewet Infrastructure Marblemount Quarry proposal (PL19-0032, PL19-0033,PL19-0047, BP19-0070) Dear Skagit Planning and Development Services,    The Mount Baker Group of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club (MBGSC) represents over 2500 members in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties, and opposes the permitting of the Kiewit Infrastructure Company’s plans for the Marblemount Quarry (KIMQ). Since we first commented in March, during the first comment period, there have been many excellent comments made raising the issues of truck safety, truck pollution, mining pollution, the disturbance of the local citizens’ rural way of life and the disturbance of the local fauna. Recently, three of our members visited the site and observed a pair of nesting peregrine falcons on the cliffs of the mountain slated for destruction. These birds are Federal Species of Concern and are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They need to be protected from this mining operation.There also have been well written letters detailing the regulatory errors in the KIMQ’s applications, involving the Mineral Resource Overlay areas, the Growth Management Act and the Skagit County Comprehensive Plan. The MBGSC urges Planning and Development to apply its regulations to this project and make the applicant follow Skagit County’s proper procedural paths and conform to its rules.  The Sierra Club was formed in 1892 and supported the establishment  of the National Park Service in 1916. It has been instrumental in the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia/King’s Canyon, and Mt. Rainier National Parks. The Club was the leading force in keeping dams out of Grand Canyon and Dinosaur National Parks. In 1968 the Sierra Club led the campaign to establish the North Cascades National Park (NCNP). The park has the most extensive glacial system of any area in the lower 48 states, and the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American park.  Almost all the NCNP is designated as the the Stephen Mather Wilderness (SMW). The western boundary of the NCNP and the SMW  are just a few miles from the KIMQ site.

The concept of National Parks as stand-alone islands of preservation of particular outstanding features has evolved into recognition that the ecosystems that the parks preserve extend beyond their surveyed and man-made boundaries. Many parks and monuments have been expanded to include the watersheds and mountain ranges that are the central geographic hearts of the parks. Other parks have been protected by the banning of extractive industries around them. Arches National Park was thus protected early in the Obama administration when the Interior Dept. halted the destructive seismic exploration for gas and oil around its edges due to the real concern the vibrations from the seismic thumping could weaken and ruin the many arches that the park is famous for. The KIMQ poses a similar existential threat to the integrity of the wilderness qualities of the NCNP. The treasure that is the NCNP cannot be measured against the profits of a multinational company that has no honest interest in the value of the natural resources of the Park and the Skagit Valley, and the lifestyles of the citizens who have chosen to live near their beloved Park. The area around Rockport and Marblemount have the same features as found within the NCNP. The Skagit River pristinely flows out of the park within 1000 feet of the mine site. Old growth Douglas Fir forest is preserved in Rockport State Park. The rare and protected species that make the Park their home, such as the Canada Lynx, the fisher (recently re-introduced by WDFW in the KIMQ area), wolverines and wolves make use of the National Forest, Washington State and private lands adjoining the NCNP. This last category of course, includes the KIMQ, and its property must not be allowed to become an extractive sacrifice zone that will degrade the NCNP and the Skagit Valley beyond repair. The NCNP belongs to all Americans, it is truly a national treasure and irreplaceable. The uncertainty of climate change is already having adverse effects upon the Park and its glaciers. We must not allow a private for profit with plans for 100 years of blasting, mining and hauling to destroy the the North Cascades National Park and the Skagit Valley.
Due to the extensive list of health, safety, and environmental impacts from this project we are again requesting that an Environmental Impact Study be conducted. The SEPA checklist as well as th the environmental assessments conducted thus far by KIMQ do not address all of our concerns. We believe that this permit should be denied or in the least suspended until due diligence has been performed.

Sincerely,

Mt Baker Group
WA Chapter Sierra Club

Judith Akins, Chairperson

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