BLM amends Noncompliance Order, citing ‘significant violation’

BLM amends Noncompliance Order against RMI, citing ‘significant violation’ of federal land management regulations

RMI has 30 days to further update proposed changes to its mining plan; public review to follow

With an Amended Noncompliance Order issued March 6, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking a tougher stance in regulating the Rocky Mountain Industrials (RMI) limestone quarry.

The federal agency’s amended order adds stern new language that increases the severity of RMI’s problems with quarry operations.

BLM issued its original Noncompliance Order in August 2022. In that order, the agency wrote that RMI’s current mining operations were “outside the scope of its approved plan of operations and causing unnecessary or undue degradation.”

BLM and RMI were in a second round of back-and-forth documents dealing with that Noncompliance Order when a massive slope collapse occurred at the quarry on Jan. 18.

Because the slope collapse changed on-the-ground conditions at the quarry, BLM has now amended the Noncompliance Order, adding this statement:

“Because the operation’s current conditions substantially deviate from the approved plan of operations, BLM has determined that this is a significant violation of its surface management regulations.”

The amended order also notes that if RMI fails to comply with the order by the mid-April deadline, BLM may “may issue a suspension order for all or part” of the quarry operation.

Updated Plan of Operations required to address changes from rockslide

To meet BLM’s demands in the Amended Noncompliance Order, RMI must now take a third run at submitting an acceptable Plan of Operations Modification. BLM spelled out its requirements in a letter to RMI dated March 7.

These requirements call on RMI to update its proposed plans for:

  • Acreage to be used for the quarry and its road system, both short-term and long-term.
  • Blasting and removing rock from highwall benches.
  • Managing stormwater.
  • Quarry reclamation, including an interim management plan that prevents further damages to the quarry area during times when the quarry is under temporary closures.
  • Monitoring operations at the quarry.

Unified front with other state and federal agencies

In addition, BLM is presenting a unified front with two other agencies that initiated permit enforcement actions following the slope collapse.

To comply with BLM regulations, the March 7 letter states, RMI must also comply with enforcement actions imposed by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety.

The state mining agency’s governing board, the Mined Land Reclamation Board, is slated to hold a hearing in Denver on April 19 or 20 to determine whether RMI violated its state mining permit.

BLM to seek public comment on RMI’s revising mining plan

BLM’s March 7 letter also repeats its intent, stated in previous letters to RMI, to seek public comment prior to making a decision on whether to approve RMI’s proposed Plan of Operations Modification.

This is the point where you will have the opportunity to express your views on RMI’s continued operation of the limestone quarry.

Please watch your email inbox in the coming weeks. Once BLM launches this public review process, the Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance will let you know how to participate and make your voice heard.

Links to BLM documents

Download the March 6 Amended Noncompliance Order here (3 pages, 1.7 MB)

Download the March 7 Completeness Review here (3 pages, 1.2 MB)

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