Protesters barricaded two Maury Island roads at dawn today, hoping to stop construction of a loading dock for a gravel mine.
Protesters barricaded two roads at dawn today on Maury Island, hoping to stop construction of a loading dock for a gravel mine.
About 50 people gathered at access points to the mining site, owned by Glacier Northwest. Nine people formed human blockades, chaining their wrists to each other inside steel pipes anchored to oil drums filled with concrete.
“Glacier Northwest is on public land,” said Logan Price, who was chained to a barricade. “The state has failed to protect the public trust on this issue.”
While the protesters kept cars from reaching the site, seven Glacier Northwest workers walked past the barricades.
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Glacier Northwest could not be reached immediately for comment.
Maury Island is connected by land to Vashon Island.
Protest organizers said they wanted to keep the protest peaceful and nonviolent rather than physically restrain workers from getting in.
Construction work on the dock, which normally starts at 7 a.m., was delayed a few hours, and the protesters chained together said they would stay shackled until sunset.
Environmentalists have fought the mine’s expansion for the past decade.
In December, outgoing Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland approved a lease permit for the dock.
The 305-foot dock would be used to load gravel onto barges. Vashon Island residents hope to slow construction of the dock, which they say must be completed by Jan. 14 or risk being delayed through August.
Many were concerned that gravel spilled from the dock would damage the marine environment, particularly eelgrass beds. The underwater grass serves marine creatures to spawn, live and forage.
“I’m willing to get arrested for one of the last eelgrass beds in Puget Sound,” said Morgan Guion, who was chained to Price. Both grew up on Vashon Island.
The King County roads department closed the streets to keep cars from advancing on the protesters.
King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ted Boe said he would open the road today, and those blocking the way will be arrested.
Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org