Some Good News and Some More of the Same Old Story

Some good news for a change! After 50+ comment letters were submitted by community members, Skagit County Planning and Development Services (PDS) is having yet another look at the mine development application!

A legal notice was published in the newspaper Thursday withdrawing the Mitigated Determination of NonSignificance (MDNS) on the Grip Road Gravel Mine. It states:  “Notice is hereby given that on May 13, 2021, Skagit County PDS is withdrawing the SEPA MDNS issued on April 25, 2021. If a new threshold determination is issued, a new notice and comment period will be provided”. There is no explanation as to why, or what PDS plans to do next; in fact, no other new information is provided in the Notice. 

We have talked with the assistant director at PDS. He told us they plan to do additional Critical Areas review and then issue a new Threshold Determination under the State Environmental Policy Act. He pretty much told us that another MDNS would be issued in the future – meaning the application is still active and they are not planning to require a full EIS.  We asked if they plan to look into traffic issues further — he said ‘no’.  We expressed our surprise and concern regarding this, but could get no further explanation.  Nor could he provide any kind of timeline, but he expected it would be at least a month before a new threshold determination would be issued.

One might reasonably conclude from this Notice that the permit/application has been withdrawn, but this is not the case – unfortunately this is far from over, and we really don’t know what additional environmental review is forthcoming.  And, despite the overwhelming concern expressed by the public, it seems we have more work to do to get the County to take public safety and traffic issues seriously.

So, the good news is that the inadequate MDNS was withdrawn and there will be more opportunity for public input.  The County seems to be paying a little more attention now.   This is significant progress. And, we do not need to go through an expensive appeal process at this time.  Chalk one up for public involvement – your comments clearly made a difference! 

Thank you to everyone who has supported this effort.  Please stay tuned in!

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