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Kitsap Lake residents voice more concerns over proposed mining

Jack Stanfill, one of many Kitsap Lake area residents who make up the Concerned Citizens of Chico Creek Water Basin group, has taken issue with many of the reports made by officials in the hearing to decide the fate of Ueland Tree Farm’s mining plans.

The proposal included the installation of up to two sand and gravel mines, three basalt quarry areas, a concrete batch plant, a railroad spur line and a topsoil production facility on property just off of Northlake Way.

The tree farm plans to develop 152 acres of its 1,716-acre former Port Blakely Tree Farm property, but Stanfill and others wonder why with 13 streams and 19 wetlands, this area was chosen for a 50-year project like this.

“The impact to the environment, our health, our safety, our daily lives and the purchase potential of our homes will be significantly impacted should this project be approved,” said Patty Heuer, a member of CCCCWB.

One of the biggest concerns for the group is dynamite. According to Heuer, blasting levels could exceed recommended levels for residential areas.

Another big issue for the community is the addition of heavy-truck traffic to residential streets.

The main road to be used for access to the facility during site development and subsequent pick up of concrete, gravel and topsoil would be Northlake Way and Leber Lane. This could add more than 154 heavy-truck trips each day to and from the gravel mines and quarries on a road with several school bus stops.

Noise also is a major concern for the neighborhood. Although the operation will create buffers to reduce noise, UTF admits the blasting operations at the site could adversely affect wildlife in the immediate vicinity of the blasting area, possibly causing much of the wildlife to relocate. Also, according to Heuer, impacts could occur during the breeding and nesting season for birds.

Chemical toxins have also been a discussion item for the group as many of the planned operations could produce pollutants.

“The concrete batch plant will emit concentrations of toxic air pollutants including arsenic, beryllium, cadmium and chromium every weekday for the next 50 years,” Heuer said.

The group has been assured scientific studies show the project would have little or no environmental impact, but Stanfill said he is not convinced.

“I am not a scientist,” he said. “I can only go with what I see and read.”

According to Stanfill, basalt quarries could affect water quality entering onsite wetlands and streams and runoff from the site also could negatively impact downstream surface waters and even Kitsap Lake.

Anyone with scientific knowledge or people just interested in helping CCCCWB should contact Heuer in the evenings at (360) 377-1490, Linda Laine at (360) 373-7079 or Stanfill at (360) 373-3305.

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