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Dunn Calls Impending Controversial Asphalt Plant a ‘Mistake of Monumental Proportions’

Summary

Dunn letter condemns in the strongest terms the possibility that executive branch of County government may permit a controversial asphalt plant on SR 169 near the Cedar River

Story

In anticipation that the King County Permitting Division will decide to approve the construction of an asphalt plant along state Route 169 in an unincorporated area near Renton and Maple Valley, King County Vice Chairman Reagan Dunn on Monday issued a formal letter (attached) condemning in strongest terms the prospective asphalt plant and imploring King County to not allow the plant to be built at the site along the Cedar River.

“After working in opposition to this asphalt plant for many years, we are nearing the time for King County to make a choice — and this letter is my final plea to decision makers to not allow an asphalt plant at such an environmentally sensitive location as the Cedar River,” Dunn said. “This community already bears burden of the Cedar Hills landfill. Adding an asphalt plant endangers our diminishing salmon populations and the quality of our drinking water and will certainly further pollute our air. Enough is enough.”

The parcel that would host the asphalt plant is adjacent to the Cedar River — the drinking water source for 1.4 million people in the region, and critical habitat for Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, and Kokanee salmon, as well as trout and other fish. Other known impacts of asphalt plants are numerous — including toxic air pollutants, silica dust exposure, high levels of noise, noxious odors, increased traffic, and declining property values. For these reasons, the proposed plant has attracted strong opposition from the local community.

“If you proceed with approving this permit, it would be an extremely poor decision of the executive branch of government, and its legacy would be traced back to your office forever,” Dunn wrote in the letter. “Approving a permit for an industrial use in the rural area just feet away from the Cedar River, at the gateway to Maple Valley and other south County cities is a mistake of monumental proportions — one that is out of compliance with King County’s own growth management policy to preserve rural character and that flatly betrays the County’s central value of respecting and protecting our environment.”

Dunn has a long history of outspoken opposition to the asphalt plant siting, including sponsoring a 2017 moratorium on the proposed asphalt plant, holding numerous community town halls, writing letters opposing the permit, and standing on SR 169 with other members of the community picketing the plant.

If King County allows the asphalt plant to move forward, Dunn is requesting that maximum standards of environmental monitoring and mitigation be put into place. The Permitting Division is anticipated to announce a final decision this month.

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