February 4, 2009
Contact: Princess Jackson-Smith, 360-902-1066
DNR Geologists Evaluate Landslide at Mine in Bingen
“Emergency Order to suspend Surface Mining” issued in the interest of health and safety is effective immediately
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued an Emergency Order to Suspend Surface Mining for the basalt mine owned by SDS Lumber, located in the city of Bingen, near white Salmon, in south central Washington. Basalt is used to make aggregate for road building.
Upon investigation, DNR geologists dispatched to the site found that the site was actively moving, with soil and boulders rolling down the hill. The criteria for issuing an “Emergency Order to Suspend Surface Mining” include the determination that activity at a surface mine has created a situation involving an immediate danger to the public health, safety, welfare, or environment, requiring immediate action. John Bromley, Surface Mine Reclamation Program Manager said DNR geologists will be closely monitoring the SDS Lumber Bingen mine. The text of the order is available at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/em_emergencyorder_10889.pdf .
DNR’s Surface Mine Reclamation Program regulates about 1,100 permitted surface mines in Washington, under the Surface Mining Act, RCW 78.44. A primary purpose of the Surface Mining Act is to ensure that surface mines are appropriately reclaimed for their approved subsequent use. Surface mines are often reclaimed for fish and wildlife, grazing, forestry, wetlands, residential, commercial or industrial use. The Reclamation Program enforces the Surface Mining Act and provides technical assistance to answer questions and train miners on reclamation issues.
Caring for your natural resources. . .now and forever
DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. These lands include 125,000 acres of Natural Areas that protect rare and threatened species as well as high-quality examples of the native ecosystems and landscapes of Washington.
The department also provides wildfire protection for 12.7 million acres of private and state-owned forestlands; administers Forest Practices rules and surface mine reclamation on state and private lands; gives technical assistance for forestry and mining; and provides financial and grant assistance to local communities and individuals.
DNR is administered by Peter Goldmark, the 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889, and the first from Eastern Washington.
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