Re: “The great gravel debate” (TNT, 2-15).
I am a lobbyist for one of the companies mentioned, Fred Hill Materials, but I am also an environmental activist who lives near its Jefferson County operation.
Thankfully, environmental groups urge us to weigh industrial projects against more realistic standards of environmental health than in the past, urgently redesigning our society’s relationship to nature.
However, can’t they also recognize that we should use the inevitability of certain industry to begin fixing damage we have caused the regional environment? If we develop the ability to transport sand and gravel by barge, for example, we can restore many miles of damaged beaches and eelgrass beds, the salmon habitat lining the Puget Sound and Hood Canal, and reduce transport pollution by 90 percent.
I also hope they will see that our choice is not between mining or not mining. Annually, we each consume 10 tons of gravel. Mining will continue indefinitely.
By fighting the Hood Canal project, the unfortunate alternative environmental groups choose is buying more gravel from Canada and causing more trucking across Puget Sound. Few transportation options pollute the environment more than trucking.
This is a choice of buying local vs. foreign, supporting local unions instead of foreign companies, stimulating Washington’s economy, restoring our dying near-shore environment and ensuring that Washington’s environmental laws apply to the mining of our aggregate, not Canada’s.
We have much better regulations and oversight in Washington, and our lifestyle impact should be kept local.