A huge THANK YOU to all who submitted public comments to USACE and DEQ in opposition to the mining of Liberty Hill!
Rumor has it that USACE received over 100 comments, and that was a week ago! I know many of you submitted on the last day.
Now we wait, and watch, and hope and spread the word.
This struggle may go on for some time to come so your continued support is crucial. Stay tuned......
Bumble Bee and Great Camas (Cammasia leichtlinii May 2022
Mining permit application update 1/4/23
Greetings Friends of Liberty Hill. Happy New Year!
That long awaited time of the return of the mining permit application for Liberty Hill is upon us again!
This time, very similar to last year in February, The Department of State Lands has returned the application for revisions. Again, this is apparently due to lack of information as well as concerns that the proposed mitigation plans did not adequately address the loss or creation of the ARSC (Aquatic Resources of Special Concern), the wet Camas meadows.
HOWEVER, also just like last time, US Army Corps of Engineers has already moved to open up the application to public comments. Liberty Hill once again needs your support! The deadline is now January 30th .
Anyone who submitted public comments last year can request they be included in the current Corps review. Simply contact the reviewer of the permit ,Tyler Krug, and ask that your previous comments be included this period. You can also submit any additional comments.
Below are instructions for submitting comments to USACE, copied from the public notice ***
*** Please note that you must use the Corps refference # - NWP 2022-530 in the subject line of your email. "Liberty Hill" alone is not a name recognized by the agencies reviewing the mining application. This proposal is called The Watters Quarry Expansion
Submitting Comments: Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed project. Comments may be submitted by conventional mail or email. All comments received will be considered in determining whether authorizing the work would be contrary to the public interest.
Either conventional mail or e-mail comments must include the Corps reference number as shown on page 1 and include the commenter’s name and address. In order to be accepted, e-mail comments must originate from the author’s e-mail account and must include on the subject line of the e-mail message the Corps reference number. All comments received will become part of the administrative record and are subject to public release under the Freedom of Information Act including any personally identifiable information such as names, phone numbers, and addresses.
Additional information about the proposed project may be obtained from the Corps Project Manager listed below. All comments, whether by conventional mail or email, must be received no later than the expiration date of this public notice to ensure consideration. Comments should be submitted to the following mailing address or email address:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
North Bend Field Office
2201 Broadway, Suite C
North Bend, Oregon 97459-2372
Telephone: (541) 756-2097
Here is the link to the entire public notice page
Here also is the full permit application (not available on the USACE website) on Department of State Lands website. ** please note that due to the return of the application for revisions, there is no public comment period with DSL at this time.
Points to stress in comments to USACE.
- The proposed mitigation plan does very little to actually replace the rare and critical habitats of Liberty Hill. They are irreplaceable.
- Stress that basalt can be found elsewhere in the region to satisfy the market needs, including simply expanding the existing quarry to the North.
We also encourage the submittal of comments to DEQ, also due
January 30th regarding air and water quality. Comments can be emailed to the following address.
**Please be sure to use the reference # NWP 2020-5
Not sure what to write to DEQ? Below are some ideas…...
- The hydrology of Liberty Hill is complex with many vernal pools, wetlands, seasonal streams and wet meadows. Easterly runoff from Liberty Hill feeds a mitigation area below the bluff (DSL #36988-RF) that was created to mitigate for construction of storage units. The continued success of this mitigation relies on the the clear run-off from Liberty Hill, as does Dalton Lake, which was just recently restored by BPA as juvenile salmon habitat. Westerly runoff feeds into Milton Creek and then the Columbia. The proposed mitigation in this drainage involves creation of two large wetlands that will require excavation to depths of 30+ feet. The disruption from the construction of these new mitigation wetlands have the potential to further exacerbate flooding and runoff issues already present in this location.
Turbid discharge from mining operations is a major threat to water quality. Knife River has a poor track record for managing runoff from their existing operations, with several fines in Oregon alone over the last decade. The Angell Quarry, around 15 miles South of Liberty Hill is operated by Knife River. In 2017 they were issued a civil penalty by DEQ (see link below this paragraph) for extreme turbidity into Middle Creek and Multnomah Channel. In addition and in the same time period, they were cited and penalized for multiple violations of NPDES-1200, a permit that requires an accurate and updated Storm Water Pollution Control Plan. The Angell Quarry has ONE STREAM running through it. There are still issues with the Angell Quarry at present, with the observance of muddy water running out of the quarry and across highway 30 as recently as 12/26/22. If Knife River can’t manage runoff from a single stream on this site, there is little faith that they can manage the complex hydrology of Liberty Hill. With the effects of Climate Change now driving periods of extreme rainfall and flooding, there is all the more reason for concern with this mining operation that is proposed to occur over the next 50 years.
Also don’t forget that anyone who wishes can request a public hearing regarding air and water concerns over this quarry expansion. The more of us to do so, the more likely it may happen.
Thank you so much to you all for your continued support for saving Liberty Hill! Reach out through the "contact" page us if you have questions.
Mining permit application update 4/27/21
A huge “thank you” once again to everyone who wrote letters in February and early March to The United States Corps of Engineers and the DEQ in opposition to the mining expansion! We are satisfied to report that an estimate of between 60 to 100 letters were written to the Corp of Engineers and DEQ.
At this time, we are still waiting for the Department of State Lands to receive a completed application from Knife River’s consultant. For those who may not have been following the application review process closely, the application was returned for incompleteness back in January. The consultant for the permit was given until May 15, 2021 to return the application. If it is not returned in that time period, there could be an extension granted or the application could be closed (FYI, re-applying is not a big deal). Once the application is received by the reviewer at DSL, there will be a time frame of up to 30 days to again accept or return the application. If accepted the public comment period will begin shortly thereafter. If returned again, there will be another extension, usually 120 days.
We now wait wait on these various scenarios outlined above to shake out before the DSL public comment period for the mining expansion to begin. Because of the number of letters opposed to the mining expansion received by USACE and DEQ, we don’t anticipate rapid movement on the mining application, though one can never tell with great certainty. STAY TUNED.
When the public comment period begins through DSL, we will once again seek support from individuals and organizations to submit letters in opposition. For those who sent letters to USACE, those letter will most likely be the same and /or appropriate response to DSL. Additional or different "talking points" will be provided when the time arrives.
Feel free to messsage FOLH via our "contact" page