Who is responsible for regulating the mines?
Mining Activities are regulated by overlapping federal, state and local regulations. Active mines must comply with regulations from Federal and State agencies on many topics including, ecology, fish and wildlife and mine safety but it is the responsibility for the County to regulate ongoing mining operations at an active mine and manage mining operations with a balance between mineral extraction and impacts to adjacent users.
Why are the proposed current changes to policy a problem?
The Mineral Lands Task Force (made up primarily of mining interests) have suggested many changes that sharply tip the balance towards mining interests and away from the citizens of Clark county. Currently the plan policies and development regulations that protect citizens from mining operations are under review. The task Force suggestions eliminate crucial policies for designating mineral land. Out of 19 policies, they deleted eight, changed two and added one. The added policy 3.5.11 allows them to expand the Surface Mining Overlay onto rural residential lands when it is adjacent to a mining site. This would allow expansion of a mine into a rural neighborhood.
Importantly, In addition to stripping away many of the policies that protect us, they also suggest altering the process for subsequent boundary changes of the Surface Mining Overlay to be changed from a Type IV to a Type III process. Among other things this means that the Surface Mining Overlay can be altered without a public hearing before the Planning Commission and the County Commissioners. The Mineral Lands Task Force also proposes to change the process for approval of rock crushing, asphalt and concrete plants from conditional to permitted use because "it would reduce the uncertainty in the process and somewhat shift the burden of evidence".
When you take a look at what has happened to the community on Yacolt Mountain you can see that we do not need less protection from the county, we need more and better protection.
How can I can help?
The best way to help is to be educated, get involved and donate. If you have ideas, information or testimony regarding policy's please contact us.
Links to Clark County's proposed map, policy and changes:
Documents, maps and meeting Minutes