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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County commissioners approve West Plains basalt mining

Spokane County commissioners signed off on a controversial basalt mining proposal on the West Plains on Tuesday, with caveats.

The three-member panel unanimously reclassified Ron Calhoon’s 78 acres from farmland to possessing valuable minerals. But the approval was offered contingent to an agreement that Calhoon would not blast or crush rock on his property, would only mine for basalt and would provide safety vehicles for equipment on site.

Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn said Calhoon had “crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s” on his proposal, and commissioners were legally obligated to approve the reclassification. She said the conditions were imposed because of public testimony from neighbors opposed to the project.

Calhoon’s neighbors on Brooks Road worry the mining could change the landscape of the secluded community served by a single gravel road. Calhoon must still go before Spokane County Hearing Examiner Michael Dempsey before mining will be allowed.

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