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City of Kenmore wants asphalt plant shut down when wildfire smoke is prevalent

With the potential for low-hanging smoke back in the forecast for later this week, new urgency is growing behind an Aug. 4 letter to Gov. Inslee.

KENMORE, Wash. — The City of Kenmore is calling for Governor Jay Inslee to use his powers to shut down a Cadman asphalt plant when wildfire smoke blankets the area.

“It’s like a triple whammy,” said Kate Donaldson of those smoke filled days. 

Donaldson's condominium overlooks the asphalt plant from across SR 522. The nearly 60-year-old plant creates enough problems for her from its own emissions when the wind is blowing her direction, which she said is often. 

“On a bad day, the stench is so strong it permeates. It’s in the house, it’s on my towels, it’s on my sheets, it’s in my hair it’s on my skin,” she said.

With the potential for low-hanging smoke back in the forecast for later this week, new urgency is growing behind an Aug. 4 letter to Inslee to declare an emergency proclamation to turn the plant off during smoke days.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done on council, to at least to agree to send a letter to the governor asking - when the air is unbreathable - that he require the plant to stop,” said Deputy Mayor Nigel Herbig at a small rally across the street from city hall.

In the letter, “…the City Council of the City of Kenmore respectfully requests that you issue an emergency proclamation that halts the production of asphalt at any location where the air quality meets or exceeds the Washington Air Quality Advisory…levels of “Very Unhealthy” Or “Hazardous,” as established by the Washington Department of Ecology…”

Wildfire smoke poses a serious threats to the health of the state’s people along with the additional load of particle pollution emitted by asphalt  production, the city council said.

The letter concludes by quoting state law, “We believe the requested action is critical and fully supports and implements the public policy that 'air quality levels must be secured and maintained to protect human health and safety, including the most sensitive members of the populations.'"

Cadman, the owner of the plant and the Puget Sound Clean Air agency could not be reached for comment Sunday.