Glacier Northwest and Maury Island
Glacier Northwest Dupont Mine, Photo by flash lite torch Q250
Who Is Glacier Northwest?
- Glacier Northwest is a U.S. subsidiary of Taiheyo Cement, a Japanese owned corporation that is one of the largest cement making companies in the world.
- Glacier Northwest currently dominates the regional aggregates market and also exports a significant amount of sand and gravel to out of state and foreign markets by both barge and rail.
- For over one hundred years, under a variety of aliases, Glacier has operated the largest sand and gravel mines and cement batch plants in the Northwest region.
- In doing so the company has been found guilty of many significant environmental violations.
- Two of the company managers were given criminal convictions and served jail sentences after being found guilty of deliberately violating the Federal Clean Water Act .
- After their convictions, these managers were given promotions within the company becoming President and Vice President of Glacier Northwest.
- In the past decade alone the company has paid over $600,000 in fines due to environmental violations.
- As recently as 2007 Glacier was fined over $200,000 for the company’s discharge contamination of the Thea Foss waterway.
- This fine was the result of a lawsuit against the company brought forth by a by the EPA, The Washington State Department of Ecology, The Puyallup and Muckleshoot Tribes and the City of Tacoma.
A Mega Mine On Maury Island
- Glacier Northwest has not actively mined the property themselves for nearly 30 years. While in years past, they have leased the property out to a local contractor to excavate small amounts of sand and gravel for local island use there is currently no mining activity on the site.
- Current permitting allows for the excavation of approximately 15,000 tons of aggregates per year at the Maury Island location, an appropriate volume given the unique environmental factors of the site.
- The company has proposed an expansion that if allowed, would create the largest US mine of it’s kind in the middle of Puget Sound.
- This mega mine would extract 40,000 tons per day and 7.5 million tons each year which is a nearly 400 fold increase from currently permitted excavation rates.
- This mega mine would use a mining method best compared to mountaintop removal and the proposed operations would change the elevation of the property taking the 300 foot marine bluffs down to sea level.
- Glacier has proposed mining to within 15 feet of the sole source aquifer which is the Island’s only source of drinking water.
Mining A Potential Superfund Site
- Glacier Northwest has proposed this mining operation on a property with soils contaminated by arsenic and lead at levels that are nearly 20 times higher than what is allowed under state and federal pollution control laws.
- Arsenic and lead are known carcinogens that regularly contaminate groundwater and when disturbed become an airborne public health risk.
- EPA regulated Superfund cleanups are currently being performed across the country at sites with less contamination than the Maury Island site.
- Rather than remove these toxic soils, Glacier has proposed to keep the 271,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil on site in a landfill that would measure 1/2 mile long, 250 feet wide and 30 feet high.
- Imagine a stockpile of hazardous materials running from Pike Place Market to Pioneer Square. That’s what Glacier has proposed for the Maury Island site.
Construction Of An Industrial Dock And Barging Operation The Size Of A Football Field In An Aquatic Reserve
- To support this mega mine, Glacier Northwest proposes to build an industrial dock and barging facility in a sensitive Puget Sound nearshore area so ecologically significant that it was designated as one of the State’s only aquatic reserve areas.
- Shade is a serious concern in the nearshore environment due to its damaging impact on plant communities, fish and fish habitat. When completed, the shade imprint generated from the dock and barging operation would be just about the size of a football field.
- Although Glacier’s paid biologists have performed evaluations that conclude there is no risk of environmental harm, independent reviews of the proposed project show significant impacts to the nearshore area.
This Mine Expansion Doesn’t Make any Sense
It Doesn’t Make Environmental Sense
It Doesn’t Make Economic Sense
It Doesn’t Make Sense For The People Of Washington State