A resident's reaction to the Elbow Lake gravel pit permit
June 1, 2023
A resident’s reaction to the Elbow Lake gravel pit permit
In response to the DNRC and DEQ approving the Elbow Lake gravel pit and asphalt plant, I would like to make several points.
First of all, the DNRC dismissed the hydrologic concerns of the Clearwater Resource Council (CRC) as expressed during the public comment period.
The DNRC did not do any further analysis, only writing that the CRC’s map was “not accurate” without providing any scientific data to demonstrate the state’s stance.
Here are other quotes from the DNRC’s Environmental Assessment:
“The proponent has not applied for a water right and does not anticipate using groundwater at this time.” This is an open door for LHC to do whatever they want.
“Impacts to air quality are expected to be short term and last for the lifetime of the mine.” The State thinks 17 years is “short term.” I disagree whole-heartedly.
“Current Conditions: Proximity to human area likely limits habitat quality in the project area for grizzly bears.” I have pictures of two different grizzly bears walking by my home nearby.
The State approved this pit and asphalt plant as if residences are not nearby. Now they write that grizzly bears aren’t in the project area because of people being in the area.
“The pit would be limited to daytime hours of operation.” We know nothing of hours or days of the week, and we know how late it’s light out in the summer.
“There is a current grazing license held by MT FWP encompassing the proposed project area. The grazing license is utilized for wildlife forage.” This site is a major elk feeding area. Why doesn’t FWP insist on keeping their grazing license for wildlife?
Randy Arnold, FWP Regional Supervisor, wrote that “grizzly bears, a Threatened species under the ESA occupy the BCWMA and surrounding land. The proposed site occurs within a Tier 1 Community Type of Greatest Conservation Need”. The DNRC seems to be ignoring Arnold’s expertise about grizzly bears and this special area by dismissing his letter.
This gravel pit and asphalt plant should not have been permitted for a vast number of critical reasons.
We need to get this permit revoked.
Libby Langston, Greenough