Northwest NEWS

April 12, 1999

Editorial

A quarry does not belong here

A copy of this letter has been sent to the King County Department of Environmental Services.

   Hayes Mine/Duvall Rock Company has applied for a permit to create a quarry/gravel pit along the steep hillside about a mile north of the city of Duvall on State Route 203.

   It is an understatement to say that an environmental impact study is necessary. King County has spent countless hours and dollars implementing plans to protect rural and natural areas. The site at risk could be used as a specific example of what we have all worked to protect.

   It is a jewel in King County's crown, a pristine wild area of beauty with McCauley Falls, which is fed by salmonoid Hanstead Creek, sparkling from the edge of the cliff. This lovely scene is treasured by residents and ecstatically exclaimed over by visitors and Sunday drivers. It is a special high point for many tourists making trips to the area, beautiful in all seasons, but incomparable in its fall glory of mixed evergreens and the leaf colors of native deciduous trees. People actually stop their cars to gaze and cameras are set up to capture the beauty.

   In its place, Hayes Mine/Duvall Rock company plans to destroy all of this with an ugly, noisy, polluting "sore thumb" of a quarry. Please, visit the site and consider what we all stand to lose.

   As residents, we moved here because we made a choice to live in the rural, natural conditions that were here when we came. In this area, landowners pay taxes on minimum five-acre lots, without benefit of further development or subdivision rights, because King County has developed rules to restrict development and retain the rural character and protect the environment and wildlife habitat. We are required to build our homes away from designated "sensitive areas" and reduce our useable acreage--sometimes considerably--by fencing off "Native Growth Protection Easements."

   If King County allows Hayes Mine/Duvall Rock Company to move forward, it will be a hypocritical mockery of its own system and a slap in the face for all the patient, rule-complying residents and taxpayers who have worked with King County to protect these things. Our peace and quiet will be forever destroyed; our clean air and water will be forever destroyed; stability of land in the area will be endangered; the animals, birds, fish, and native flora will all be completely wiped out.

   There is also the matter of wells. Here, residents rely on their own private wells as their only source of water. Irreversible damage is quite possible in the face of blasting, mining, and the diversion of natural waterways. Our homes are valueless without a reliable water supply.

   Some of the wells in this area are drilled all the way to the valley floor! Just a few miles down the road, on the same Highway 203, within the last five years, another gravel company caused misery for their neighbors by disrupting aquifers supplying their wells. Those people spent an entire summer without water and now live in uncertainty and fear. Hayes Mine/Duvall Rock Company could wreak the same horrors on the lives of residents here. Who do we sue if our water disappears?

   Landslides have proven their ability to cause significant damage all over the Northwest this winter. Mining, blasting, and waterway diversion will greatly exacerbate the problem on this very steep site. Erosion and run-off will become a nightmare when the soil-holding vegetation is destroyed, only adding to and worsening the flooding troubles in this perennially flood-plagued area.

   Traffic congestion, already of immediate concern, to the City of Duvall, King County, and the State of Washington in this area, will be compounded many times over by the many trips that can be expected by large trucks all day, every day, in an already overused area. Our vast and enviable list of bird and animal population will be losing a uniquely self-sufficient habitat that owes its diversity to qualities such as quiet, remoteness, and privacy to carry out breeding, nesting, feeding, bathing, and watering.

   The noise and pollution would also render unusable the recreational fields in the valley below which are currently used for dog training/trails, wild bird habitat/hunting and other recreational uses.

   In short, there are so many "cons" of issues and concerns that will adversely affect this location and the surrounding area, that there are no "pros" to advance for this disastrous proposal. It is appalling and unthinkable that, after all the measures King County has taken to protect its rural and natural areas, planned environmental devastation such as this one could be allowed.

   We would also request that the SEPA and EIS scoping hearings be held in Duvall, not Renton, so residents can attend to voice their concerns.

   A quarry does not belong here. Permit #L98G0148 should be denied.

Teresa & Warren Richardson, Duvall