State worries new mining operation may cause another landslide

State worries new mining operation may cause another landslide

NEAR NACHES, Wash. -- A mining operation in the Nile Valley is being sued by the state. Authorities worry the activity could cause a landslide in the same area as one more than three years ago that shut down Highway 410.

It finally reopened after a massive construction project a few months ago.

That stretch of 410 cost tax payers millions of dollars to repair after a landslide destroyed it. But now state agencies and neighbors say there's concern that portions of this mountain could come down once again.

New mining operations have stopped near the site of the landslide. Washington State and Yakima County worked to stop the mining.

Officials said Nile Valley Restoration workers didn't have permits.

County prosecutors issued orders to stop mining near the Highway.

Action News spoke with the lawyer who represents Simmons Hauling and Alan Deatley, Junior. He said workers only removed rock and debris from the initial disaster. They weren't doing any new mining.

The attorney claims the state is in the wrong. He says Washington doesn't require permits to clean up from a natural disaster. They plan to counter-sue Yakima County.

Bryan Wommack lives just feet from the landslide. He blames mining for the disaster that closed the freeway.

"They were digging in the side of the hill and just went too far," Wommack said.

Bryan says new work in the area worries him. He still sees smaller landslides.

"It is the mountain back here across from the store that is still sliding down," Wommack said. "And it comes down quite a bit."

Pam Remley doesn't think mining caused the original landslide.

"I have a feeling a lot of people don't know all the facts and I don't either," Remley said.

Pam says she doesn't think the work up here has to stop. But it has, now that a lawsuit is in place.

The Department of Natural Resources says it's in the middle of its lawsuit with Nile Valley Restoration.

Yakima County says the company hasn't appealed the cease and desist order.