In an effort separate from the GSCA lawsuit, BLM has begun taking steps to address other compliance problems with current operations at the RMI limestone quarry.
On Aug. 30, BLM issued a Noncompliance Order targeting four problem areas involving mining outside permit boundaries, grading, and stormwater drainage. (See our blog post of Sept. 1 for details.) RMI submitted a modified plan of operations on Oct. 7. After reviewing the plan, BLM deemed it incomplete.
In a letter issued Nov. 9, BLM ordered RMI to submit much greater detail about how it would to bring quarry operations into compliance.
RMI has 45 days from the date it received the letter to submit its new modified plan of operations. That time period will end in late December.
Public review process to be included
BLM’s letter also states that efforts to bring the quarry into compliance won’t be seen as “minor modifications” to RMI’s mining permit.
Instead, this new process is being approached as a major plan modification with a limited scope, said Larry Sandoval, BLM Field Manager for the Colorado River Valley Field Office in Silt.
Therefore, revisions to the plan of operations for the existing quarry will be subject to a public review process, Sandoval said.
Failure to submit could lead to suspension
In the Nov. 9 letter, BLM gave RMI specific instructions for revising its proposal. Those instructions call on RMI to provide:
- A description of operations with maps showing plans for mining, rock handling, road access, spills, stormwater management, power and water services, and a schedule of operations from start through closure.
- A complete plan for reclamation of the entire quarry area, including backfilling the open pit, grading, revegetation, containment of toxic materials, and demolition of buildings.
- An interim management plan for the quarry during seasonal closures.
The BLM letter notes that if RMI fails to meet the new year-end deadline, the agency will take action to suspend all or part of the quarry operations, and may suspend or permanently cease operations at the mill facility.