King County councilor opposes county approval of asphalt plant along Cedar River

King County councilor opposes county approval of asphalt plant along Cedar River

More than 10,000 people who live near Cedar River have signed an online petition against the facility.

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn calls plans to build an asphalt plant near the Cedar River a “troubling decision.”

Dunn wrote to the head of the Permit Division of the county’s Department of Local Services on April 14. The department recently approved a plan to build an asphalt plant next to the Cedar River on state Route 169.

“I have long maintained that allowing an asphalt plan in a rural area, along SR-169 and within yards of the Cedar River, is shockingly poor land use policy, and that it not only goes against of King County’s core value of environmental preservation, but our state and county’s growth management policy that aims to preserve rural character,” Dunn wrote to division director Jim Chan.

In his letter, Dunn argued that building an asphalt plant so close to the Cedar River would pose an environmental threat to critical habitat for vulnerable Chinook, Coho, Sockeye and Kokanee salmon in a way that goes against d other county investments and programs to protect salmon populations. He also argued that it would pose a threat to the health of the 1.4 million people who depend on the river for drinking water.

“I am also very sympathetic to the surrounding rural community who will bear the burden of other known impacts of the asphalt plant, such as toxic air pollutants, exposure to silica dust, high noise levels, noxious odors, increased of traffic and decreased property values,” Dunn wrote.

An organization created by residents who live near the Cedar River, called SaveTheCedarRiver.orgcreated one online Petition against the establishment of the asphalt plant SR-169 which as of April 18 has been signed by more than 10,200 residents in Renton, Maple Valley, Fairwood, East Renton Highlands and Hobart.

In his letter, Dunn wrote that he was concerned that Lakeside Industries, the company that proposed the asphalt plant, was not held to the “highest possible standard and [might] not impose the maximum mitigation measures necessary for this type of use.”

He argued that Lakeside Industries should properly pay for its infrastructure impact for the project, properly monitor air quality, establish dust barriers to keep chemicals and particulates out of the river ecosystem, among other environmental impact mitigation strategies.

“In the strongest possible terms, I urge the Permitting Division of the executive branch of county government to reconsider allowing an asphalt plant to be built on this environmentally sensitive rural site,” Dunn wrote.

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Jennifer Ahdout

Jennifer Ahdout

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