We are a new and growing group of concerned citizens dedicated to protecting our families, homes and the East Fork of the Lewis River.
Nested between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Coast, the East Fork of the Lewis River, a tributary to the Columbia, cuts through the northern part of the county and provides cold water habitat for endangered Pacific salmonids. This area in many ways encompasses the idyllic dream that many picture when they think of life in the Pacific Northwest.
However, over the past three years especially, life in this area has been drastically altered by the effects of the Yacolt Mountain Mine, a nearly 100 acre surface mine that sits atop a mountain where volcanic rock is mined and crushed into gravel and other aggregate. This activity has caused numerous problems and concerns for the approximately 1400 homes that sit around and below it. These concerns include but are not limited to:
Wooly Erionite, a.k.a “naturally occurring asbestos”, private testing has found in one home and suspected in others. Mordenite and Silica have been found through independent lab testing. These materials, when crushed into fine particulates and made airborne, can be inhaled where the fibers become lodged in the lungs, causing respiratory, cardiovascular and seriously increased cancer risk.
Blasts violently shaking homes as far as 2 miles away and occurring outside of approved times.
The sound of rock crushers and other equipment rattling neighborhoods, waking people as early as 5:30 a.m. Residents cannot stand to work in their yards as far as two miles away because of the noise.
Well water turning dark and then drying up earlier every season with more homes needing to hook up to public water at a very steep cost to the homeowner.
Gravel trucks speeding, truck accidents, trucks throwing rocks and dust clouds from uncovered loads through the various towns along their way.
Wear and tear of the roads crossing streams and tributaries to the Columbia River.
All of this above a Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR) documented landslide area with homes, families and a natural, protected river below that has been designated a wild steelhead gene bank, and home to four species of threatened or endangered salmonid. Have we learned nothing from Oso, WA where 43 people were buried alive or the current problems at Rattlesnake Ridge landslide just south of Yakima?
Despite these numerous and valid concerns, in December 2018, the Clark County Council approved an overlay expansion of the mine to the south, 107 additional acres, to store overburden but restricted them from mining or moving overburden on that expansion for ten years. However, the mine operators have filed an appeal on restrictions on that expansion, in hopes of being able to apply to mine sooner, stating that although they agreed not to mine on the expansion for 10 years, they should not be restricted from applying to do so before time was up. The hearing for this appeal will take place on August 22nd, 2019 at 6:00 pm at the sixth floor Hearing room at 1300 Franklin St, Vancouver, WA.
We feel that enough is enough and have organized to focus more attention on this monumental issue.