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Friday, January 7, 2011

Maury Island and Its Intrepid Defenders - What a Story!

A fascinating account of how the Maury Island case was finally resolved from Crosscut Blog

This is a story that all people who care about the environment in Western Washington (and anywhere) can relate to. It's an incredible tale of determination that took over ten years to achieve its goal. 

Those of us who live near Puget Sound can certainly relate to this amazing saga.
Hooray for Maury Island defenders "Preserve Our Islands"!

Joshua Putnam/Flicker
The site of Maury Island's gravel pit

How Maury Island's mining opponents finally prevailed

After years of protest and negotiation, it's final: A county park will replace the former gravel mine on Maury Island.

It's official: Instead of spewing 10,000-ton loads of gravel from a long steel pier into waiting barges, the gravel mine site on the east coast of Maury Island will become a 235-acre King County Park. The papers have been signed.
Representatives of King County and CalPortland, which owned the site, closed the deal on Thursday (Dec. 30). (CalPortland, which has absorbed the gravel mine's longtime owner, Glacier Northwest, is — like Glacier — owned by Tokyo-based Taiheiyo Cement.) The county got the keys to the property gate.
The all-but-final agreement, brokered by the Cascade Land Conservancy, was announced in November. The Cascade Land Conservancy, Preserve Our Islands, the citizens group that has been fighting the gravel mine proposal since 1999, and the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust are still rustling up a couple million dollars worth of private donations, but that didn't hold up the signing.
“It's surreal,” Amy Carey, president of Preserve Our Islands, told the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber. “It is surreal,” agrees state Sen. Sharon Nelson, the founder and first president of POI, who had been fighting the mine since the presidency of Bill Clinton.
Nelson, who lives near the site, got involved 13 years ago when she and her husband attended a meeting of the Vashon Community Council and learned that Maury Island might provide the fill for Sea Tac's third runway, then still a gleam in the Port of Seattle's eye. The Nelsons thought the community council should form a committee to study the potential threat. If you want a committee, the council president told them, you form it. So Nelson became the chair of an ad hoc community council committee to study what was then called the Lone Star site. (cont' in link)

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