Comments needed to support new Garfield County mining standards

In a webinar work session held Wednesday, March 25, Garfield County’s planning staff presented a package of strong new standards to govern mining operations across the county.

The standards would use the 1041 review process, a Colorado law that allows local governments to address a wide variety of impacts that could result from a proposed activity.

A second joint work session on the standards for the Garfield County Commissioners and the Planning and Zoning Commission is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1.

The Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance is asking our supporters to write comments and send them to comment@loveglenwood.org. The GSCA will assemble the comments and submit them as a package to county officials prior to the April 1 meeting.

Comments should support Garfield County’s use of the 1041 review process to regulate mining operations and encourage officials to ensure the proposed new standards remain strong.

During the March 25 meeting, some P&Z members raised doubts about whether Garfield County should use the 1041 review process to regulate mining. Some members also questioned whether several of the proposed standards may be too demanding.

Garfield County already uses the 1041 review process to regulate airports, heliports, water projects, landfills, water and wastewater treatment plants, highways and transit stations.

The new 1041 mining standards would be applied county-wide on public and private lands within the Rural, Public Lands and Resource Lands zone districts. The standards would not apply in other zone districts, and mining operations would be prohibited in Industrial zones.

If adopted, the Rocky Mountain Industrials limestone mine expansion proposal would have to prove that it could meet these standards. The standards would also apply to other proposed mining operations elsewhere in the county.

The standards explicitly exempt sand and gravel operations and oil and gas wells, which are regulated under separate provisions in the county’s Land Use Code.

COMMENTS URGENTLY NEEDED TO P&Z MEMBERS

Please take time by end of the day on Tuesday, March 31, to write a comment message, in your own words, to the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission. Send your message to comment@loveglenwood.org

• All comments should urge P&Z members to recommend approval of expanding the county’s 1041 permit review process to include mining.

The proposed 1041 mining standards directly address a variety of impacts that could result from a mining operation.

County officials are looking for your opinion on the proposed mining standards to be applied county-wide. Do not focus on Rocky Mountain Industrials or its mine expansion proposal in Glenwood Springs. Instead, please express your thoughts on how the new 1041 standards help residents across the county for any mining operations.

Read through the proposed 1041 standards below, choose one or more that are critical for you, and explain why it is important for Garfield County to be able to hold all mine operators to those standards.

> To see the complete proposed 1041 standards, download the draft regulations and refer to PDF pages 65 to 70 / Land Use and Development Code pages 14-50 to 14-55.

Please write your comments and send them to comment@loveglenwood.org by end of the day on Tuesday, March 31. The GSCA will assemble the comments and submit them as a package to county officials prior to the April 1 meeting.

Schedule for review of proposed 1041 mining standards

March 25: First joint work session for County Commissioners and Planning & Zoning Commission (webinar)

April 1: Second joint work session for County Commissioners and Planning & Zoning Commission (webinar)

April 22: Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing, with vote on whether to recommend

May 4: Garfield County Commissioners public hearing and vote on first reading

May 11: Garfield County Commissioners vote on second reading

 

Download the draft 1041 regulations

73 pages with cover memo, 1 MB

 

Instructions for sending your comments

The Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance will collect the comments and submit them to the Garfield County Planning & Zoning Commission members.

Please write your comments and send them by end of the day on TUESDAY, MARCH 31.

Send to: comment@loveglenwood.org

PROPOSED MINING STANDARDS

In your comments, refer to Section 14-508, Additional Standards Applicable to Mining Operations

A. Air Quality: Compliance with 4 separate plans is required to satisfy this standard: (1) Air Quality Modeling, Monitoring and Mitigation Plan, (2) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Plan, (3) Odor Management Plan, and (4) Dust Suppression Plan.

B. Blasting: Must not cause a hazard to public health, safety, welfare or the environment. Compliance with the Blasting Plan is required to satisfy this standard.

C. Visual Quality: Must not cause significant degradation of viewsheds and scenic
vistas of the Impact Area … and be organized … to minimize impact on adjacent land uses

D. Surface Water Quality: Compliance with the Water Quality Monitoring and Mitigation Plan is required to satisfy this standard. Operators must minimize disturbance to the prevailing hydrologic balance within the Impact Area.

E. Groundwater Resources: Must not cause significant degradation of groundwater, or adversely affect the water quality and function of water wells in the Impact Area.

F. Water Quantity: Must not injure decreed water rights, or significantly increase or decrease stream flows or lake levels.

G. Adequate Water Supply, Reuse and Recycling: Must draw from water sources that are the least detrimental to the environment, with water reuse maximized.

H. Wetlands and Riparian Areas: Must preserve existing native vegetation within 35 feet on each side of a stream and preserve wetlands in their natural state.

I. Geothermal Resources: Must not cause significant degradation of the quality or quantity of geothermal resources that provide the source water for hot springs and spas.

J. Spill and Releases Prevention and Response: Compliance with the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan is required to meet this standard.

K. Mine Waste Water and Hazardous Materials: Must not have an adverse impact on the public health, safety, and welfare or the environment, and must comply with the Mine Waste Water and Hazardous Materials Management Plan.

L. Noise and Vibration: Must not cause noise that interferes with the peaceful enjoyment of affected lands. Compliance with the Noise Abatement, Mitigation and Monitoring Plan is required to meet this standard. Ground vibration must not be perceptible beyond the permit area boundary, noise beyond the area boundary must not exceed state standards, and noise levels are further limited for mines adjacent to parks, campgrounds, open space, conservation areas or wilderness areas.

M. Surface Disturbance: Compliance with the Grading, Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is required to meet this standard. Further standards address amounts of cut and fill, size of structures, removal of vegetation, storage of topsoil and revegetation.

N. Traffic, Roads and Access: Compliance with the Traffic and Road Impact Assessment and Mitigation Plan is required to satisfy this standard. Further standards address weight limits, seasonal limits, responsibility for costs of road and bridge upgrades and ongoing maintenance, financial assurance, haul routes, timing of truck traffic, improvements to access roads, and access restrictions to the mined area after the mine is closed.

O. Restoration and Reclamation: Reclamation of each phase of the mining project must be started within six months after a new phase has started and completed within 18 months, or the operation must be shut down. This section also requires mine operation permits by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety and, if on federal lands, the Forest Service or BLM.

P. Lighting: Must not cause excessive glare or light to spill onto adjacent property except as required for safety and emergency management. Compliance with the Lighting Plan is required to satisfy this standard.

Q. Compatibility: Must not unduly interfere with other economic development efforts
in the county. Must not adversely impact conservation easements or areas identified for residential, commercial, institutional or industrial development by the county or by municipalities in the Impact Area.

R. Compliance with State and Federal Regulations: Must comply with all state and federal laws and regulations applicable to mining operations.

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