Foes lock in on proposed law enforcement shooting range move

CHIMACUM – After several people spoke on Wednesday against Security Services Northwest’s proposal to rezone 40 acres in the hills of Gardiner so as to relocate its shooting range, Mark Clark stood up at the Jefferson County Planning Commission hearing to issue an invitation.

“There have been no speakers in favor of the motion,” said Clark, who lives off Cape George Road overlooking Discovery Bay.

He volunteered to relinquish his time to any of the more than 100 people in the Chimacum High School auditorium who would speak to support the proposal.

No one responded to Clark’s invitation.

Many people spoke after Clark to give their reasons for opposing the project – a total of about 25.

Their reasons amounted largely to gunfire noise and a fear of lead from spent bullets seeping into Discovery Bay and poisoning shellfish.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to gain access to SSNW’s Fort Discovery to assess whether hazardous material exists on the site and is seeping into underground water.

There has been no evidence that that is the case.

The EPA was asked to assess the property by the state Department of Ecology, which had received a complaint on Sept. 10 from Gardiner resident Margaret Bailey, a registered nurse who is in graduate school to become a nurse practitioner.

Bailey suggested that lead poisoning could be originating from the shooting range on the property, making its way to Discovery Bay waters and threatening shellfish that people consume.

“I’m trying to take this in a new direction, away from noise and ask, ‘Are people being poisoned?'” Bailey has said.

Joe D’Amico, SSNW president, has said that he will cooperate with the federal agency, but that “these are just wild accusations.”

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