The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced today that it has accepted for review the strip mine expansion proposal submitted July 11 by Rocky Mountain Resources Aggregates.
RMR is seeking BLM approval to expand its limestone quarry on Transfer Trail from the current approved 16 acres to 321 acres, and to strip-mine 100 million tons of rock over a 20-year period. The crushed rock would be transported daily by truck through north Glenwood Springs and loaded onto freight trains in the rail yard along the Colorado River.
“We have posted the proposal and associated information now because of the high public interest,” said David Boyd, BLM public affairs specialist.
> Scroll down for links to the documents posted on the BLM website.
“BLM’s determination that the proposal is complete will now give us access to the details of what RMR is proposing,” said Jeff Peterson, executive director of the Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance.
Two previous proposals, submitted in November 2018 and March 2019, were deemed by BLM to be incomplete.
“RMR’s previous submittals were rejected because of more than 70 deficiencies, giving us an incomplete picture of their plan,” Peterson said. “Now, the Citizens’ Alliance will tap its broad coalition of experts to analyze this new proposal.”
“We remain certain that at any scale, this is still the wrong project in the wrong place. The negative consequences for our community, our economy and our environment remain
insurmountable,” Peterson added.
MINERAL EXAM, BASELINE STUDIES TO PRECEDE EIS REVIEW PROCESS
On Monday, BLM also posted an updated fact sheet, and repeated the agency’s intent to conduct a mineral exam and other baseline studies prior to beginning a formal review process in late spring or summer of 2020.
“We believe this consecutive approach is the right way to go,” said Peterson. “We urge BLM to resist any pressure to launch the review process before we know the results of the baseline studies and the mineral examiner’s determination.”
The updated fact sheet also states for the first time that BLM will review the proposal through an environmental impact statement (EIS). Compared to an environmental assessment (EA), which was also on the table until now, the EIS process offers more opportunities for public comment and requires more thorough analysis of impacts.
“We appreciate BLM’s stated intent to put this proposal through the full scrutiny of an environmental impact statement process,” Peterson said. “In planning for an EIS process, it’s clear that BLM has heard the concern raised by residents of our community about the threats this project
With this approach, public comment periods that are part of the BLM review process are many months away.
“We anticipate beginning the first public comment period for the EIS in spring or summer 2020,” said Boyd.
Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Aug. 12, 2019
HELP GSCA SHOW UNIFIED COMMUNITY OPPOSITION
In the meantime, the Citizens’ Alliance is working to grow unified regional opposition to the strip mine proposal.
“We need everyone’s help in the coming months and years in order to prevail,” Peterson said.
With the RMR proposal becoming official, people can express their opposition now in three important ways:
- Send a letter or make a phone call to elected officials at the city, county, state and federal levels expressing your opposition.
- Encourage the businesses and organizations you are involved with to sign the GSCA endorsement form. (Download the forms here.)
- Make a donation to the GSCA so it can continue community outreach efforts. Volunteers are always welcome.
WE SUPPORT GARFIELD COUNTY
The GSCA also expresses its support for Garfield County, which is facing lawsuits from RMR in state and federal court.
Garfield County has cited five aspects of the current quarry operation that do not comply with the special use permit held by RMR. Rather than change operations to comply, RMR has sued Garfield County, alleging that the county does not have authority to govern industrial operations on federal lands within the county.
We support the Garfield Board of County Commissioners in their defense against these lawsuits.
If you have the opportunity to speak with Commissioners Tom Jankovsky, John Martin or Mike Samson, please express your support for Garfield County in this matter.
RMR PLAN OF OPERATIONS MODIFICATION DOCUMENTS
These documents can be downloaded from the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office website:
- Proposed Plan Modification (260 pages, 20.4 MB)
- Transfer Trail Redesign (8 pages, 22 MB)
- Typical Sedimentation Basin Exhibit for Transfer Trail Redesign (1 page, 311 KB)
- Spill Prevention, Control and Counter Measure Plan (51 pages, 1.1 MB)
- Stormwater Management Plan (37 pages, 7.4 MB)
- Preliminary Stability Analyses (29 pages, 11.2 MB)
- Mid-Continent Quarry FAQ (2 pages, 228 KB)