In response to the King County Permitting Division’s controversial decision Thursday to approve the construction of an asphalt plant along state Route 169 in an area along the shore of the Cedar River in rural King County, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn issued a statement condemning the decision.
In response to the King County Permitting Division’s controversial decision Thursday to approve the construction of an asphalt plant along state Route 169 in an area along the shore of the Cedar River in rural King County, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn issued the following statement condemning the decision:
“After fighting against the impending asphalt plant for years, I am extremely disappointed and, frankly, greatly troubled by the Permitting Division’s decision today to allow it to move forward. Siting an asphalt plant so close to the Cedar River — an environmentally sensitive location that is home to critical salmon habitat in addition to being a drinking water source for 1.4 million people in our region — presents an unwarranted risk of contamination and overly burdens rural communities with pollution, traffic, and other known impacts. This is shockingly poor land use policy that, I fear, will have harmful ramifications for generations to come.”
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.
Dunn also issued a formal letter (here) to the Permitting Division, urging a reconsideration of the approval and imploring the maximum protections to be imposed:
“In strongest possible terms, I urge the Permitting Division in the executive branch of County government to reconsider allowing an asphalt plant to be built at this environmentally sensitive rural location. As the decision currently stands, I am concerned that you will not hold Lakeside Industries to the highest possible standard and fail to impose the maximum mitigation measures required for this type of use. These include, but are not limited to, paying for the impact of their facility on infrastructure, for air quality monitoring, dust barriers, and other environmental mitigations. These items would be the least King County can do to preserve our environment, protect struggling salmon population, and protect the people of the greater Renton and Maple Valley areas in Southeast King County.”
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 location of the proposed site.