FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2009
DNR issues Emergency Order to mine operator at the Nile Landslide near Naches
‘Emergency Order to Suspend Mining’ is effective immediately
Simmons & Sons Hauling planned to resume mining operations at the site of the massive Nile Landslide
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today it has issued an Emergency Order to Suspend Surface Mining for a mine owned by Simmons & Son Hauling near the south-central Washington town of Nile in the Naches River Valley. The valley was the site of a large landslide on October 11, 2009, which affected more than 80 acres, including Highway 410, the Naches River, the Simmons mine, and adjacent lands. Several homes were also damaged. Rock from the mine is used to make aggregate for road building.
DNR issued an emergency order because the mine’s operators have stated that they want to resume mining at the site, which is located on the active Nile Landslide.
“It is DNR’s responsibility to ensure reclamation at mine sites and slope stability is an important component of that reclamation,” says Dave Norman, Washington State Geologist. “We issued the Emergency Order to Suspend Surface Mining because further mining poses an immediate danger to the public by increasing the likelihood of reinitiating the Nile Landslide.”
Norman says further mining is not authorized by the company’s existing reclamation permit which was not based on the site’s current conditions. The emergency order is effective until an acceptable reclamation plan, based on a geotechnical study that addresses slope stability, has been approved by DNR. The text of the order is available on the DNR website at: www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/em_emergencyorder_suspend_surfacemining.pdf
DNR took that action following criteria outlined in state law, specifically RCW 78.44.200.
DNR’s Surface Mine Reclamation Program regulates about 1,100 permitted surface mines in Washington under the Surface Mining Act. 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. DNR’s Reclamation Program enforces the Surface Mining Act and provides technical assistance to answer questions and train miners on reclamation issues.
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DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. DNR is administered by Peter Goldmark, the 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.
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