Great News on Maury Island Gravel Mine

Looking Toward Maury Island.jpgLate yesterday a federal court judge in Seattle halted the expansion of a gravel mine on Maury Island and ordered federal studies to consider the consequences of the expansion on salmon and orcas.  Yeah!  Environmentalists had sued the U.S. Army  Corps of Engineers over its lack of consultation with federal fisheries biologists on the project's impact to our endangered species.

This is a huge win for the environmentalists and local inhabitants who had been working for years to prevent the expansion.  According to the AP, "The judge said the federal agencies didn't take the requisite "hard look" at the environmental consequences of the proposed project. He ordered a halt to construction of the dock until those federal studies were completed."  State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark then issued a statement yesterday saying the company's lease was no longer in compliance with the terms of the lease.  Goldmark has asked the company who owns the gravel pit, Glacier Northwest, to halt operation until it shows that it is complying with those terms.  

The terms of the discussion are clearly changing.  And having a Democratic Lands Commissioner makes a big difference as well.


Is this the same project Sally's been working on? Regardless, I'm so happy to hear this.

Yes - that's our project. You can believe that we are dancing on Vashon and Maury.

If anyone thinks that elections don't matter - look at the difference between Peter Goldmark and Doug Sutherland!

Preserve Our Islands (POI) , the organization that has been fighting the mine expansion for ELEVEN years - put a great deal of effort and resources into legal cases against the Federal Agencies and against the Department of Natural Resources. It has been a real David and Goliath battle - POI is a small volunteer organization that was willing to take on huge legal costs. But after not being able to stop the expansion through our broken permitting processes - we had to stop it in the courts.

Despite the demonstrations, protests, and political pressure, our case was won - for now - on the science. But it took the courts to stop it. Thank you forever Judge Martinez for being willing to consider the scientific data that the Federal agencies had been unwilling to consider!!!

Land use policy seems to happen in the courts in Washington State these days.

Of course, Glacier filed an appeal of the Fed decision. Our lawyer says their chances are very slim. The Corps of Engineers/NMFS could technically appeal the decision - we are hoping they don't.

With the new administration and serious attention being paid to the health of Puget Sound - we are hoping and trusting that when real environmental reviews are done this time around, Glacier won't have a chance of getting the permit they need.

Glacier had previously announced that they were planning to recommence building their dock this week.

No chance they can do it for a long while - and hopefully they never will.

Sally (Board member POI)


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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Allen published on August 14, 2009 12:50 PM.

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