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Dugualla gravel pit: Too many negatives
The effect of operating a surface gravel mine in this location poses nothing but negative effects to our community. The aquifer providing fresh water for our 200 plus homes is located south of our community and directly below this proposed mining operation. Any breach or contamination of this aquifer with spilled hydraulic fluids, fuels, industrial lubricants or solvents commonly used in such operations would be devastating to our neighborhood. Once occurring, there is simply no way to reverse the destruction of our fresh water source leaving myself and our neighbors and families without potable water. Such spills and environmental damage, while not frequent, does happen and is statistically likely to happen over the proposed 25 years of operation of the mine.
Heavy commercial traffic from the mine would ultimately destroy the minor roads in the area. Frostad Road, in particular, is in need of frequent reinforcement of its foundation, has many limited sight distance areas, and has no shoulders along much of it. Additionally, many school bus stops line the roads north and south of the proposed mine, exposing our children to heavy trucking.
Our island and community enjoys a Category A wetland in this area. It is home to bald eagles, blue herons, raptors etc., all of which are protected animals. The trees and native plants clear cut for the operation would wipe out habitat for these animals and significantly alter the populations of these animals in this wetland area.
Finally, a major gravel mining pit operation, such as proposed here, within 1,000 feet of a residential neighborhood would significantly decrease property values. Lower property values means smaller tax revenues for the county in a time of significant fiscal constraints already hounding our county, Should the aquifer be breached and destroyed as feared, the millions of dollars of values of our homes would plummet to near zero as the home become uninhabitable and unable to be sold. All citizens who have worked hard to have their own homes and neighborhoods dont deserve to lose their value or source of fresh water to accommodate a gravel pit.
While I am a strong supporter of property rights, these rights do not extend beyond their property lines to threaten the property and property rights of others. Its that simple.
Timothy T. Miller