Letters to the Editor

Gravity can't be mitigated

This letter adds my voice in opposition to approval of Application 407-01 which seeks approval for a surface gravel mine at Taylor and Sawmill Roads, near 200 homes in Dugualla Bay Heights.

No doubt facts in mitigation were submitted with the application and certainly some issues, such as traffic and road safety, are controllable factors. The shoulder of Frostad Road near Dike Road is already degraded to the point that the white line on the side of the road has disappeared in one place due to erosion. But it can be spared further damage and expense to Island County simply by rerouting the heavy truck traffic to a road more able to bear the weight.

However, my major concern is that we simply cannot mitigate the law of gravity. The aquifer from which our water supply is drawn is very near, if not below, the proposed open mine. I’m not a geologist but it seems clear to me that the removal of 700,000 cubic yards of surface material above an aquifer can’t help but have a negative impact on the quality of water, the nearby wetlands area, and the manner in which storm water drains from the proposed site. Our neighborhood is downhill from the site.

I am also concerned about the degree of liability that the applicant and Island County assume if this application is approved. Correction of unanticipated environmental problems is very expensive. This week’s news is filled with stories of damage to homes that occurred because that “unanticipated event” actually happened. How can we be sure that our water supply won’t be harmed? I don’t want to bet my home’s value and my water supply on this issue.

Curt Myron lives in Oak Harbor.

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