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Maple Falls neighbors unhappy with plans for a new gravel mine

MAPLE FALLS, Wash. — Some neighbors are coming together to oppose a proposed 70-acre open pit rock quarry off of S Pass Road saying documents published by Whatcom County “do not honestly and adequately address the environmental issues and the impact that this size project will have on our community.”

The properties involved are located along the north side of South Pass Road and west of Frost Road in an area designated by Whatcom County as mineral resource lands. This designation allows for “the type of activity that encourages and supports the opportunity for the extraction of minerals in areas of Whatcom County designated as containing resources viable for long-term commercial extraction.”

Approximate location of proposed open pit rock quarry on S Pass Road near Frost Road

A conditional use permit application for the quarry was submitted to Whatcom County by Cowden Inc. In 2022, Cowden Gravel & Ready-Mix segment of the company was acquired by Aggregate Industries (AI), a LafargeHolcim subsidiary.

According to documents published by the county, “There will be rock sorting and crushing activities to occur on the site in addition to the mining operations. There will be approximately three employees on site during mining operations, and approximately 25 trucks entering and exiting the site per day with mined material.”

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The applicant’s consultants have submitted a geological hazard review, aquafer area recharge evaluation and wetlands assessment that indicate no significant impacts are to be expected.

The neighbors opposed to the proposal say their concerns with the proposed project include “traffic, road deterioration, noise, dust, diesel fumes, fish & wildlife, water table and wells, wetlands & watershed pollution, quality of life and more.”

The comment period for the Ranch Quarry Surface Mine proposal began April 4th and written comments are required to be received by Whatcom County Planning & Development Services by April 18th.

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