MSHA releases quarry closure order
BLM says rockslide makes RMI’s proposed plan modification ‘incomplete’
The Rocky Mountain Industrials limestone quarry seen on on Jan. 19, one day after the massive slope collapse occurred.
Weeks after federal agencies sent important communications to Rocky Mountain Industrials following the Jan. 18 slope collapse at the limestone quarry, the Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance has obtained copies of these documents.
Our mission is to keep the public informed about what is happening at the limestone quarry. This message summarizes what we have learned and provides links to download these documents.
U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration
103(k) Closure Order, Jan. 19, 2023
The closure order is a one-page form filed by MSHA staffer Jack Eberling. The form briefly describes the rockslide, and then sets out the specifics of the closure order. The closure order states:
“No miner will be permitted in the quarry except by MSHA authorization while this order is in place. This order, which includes all of the quarry and the crusher plant located on the quarry floor, is issued to assure the safety of all persons in the mine and will remain in place until it is safe to resume normal mining operations in the quarry.”
The order specifically notes that the closure applies to “All of the quarry, including the face, the highwall, the quarry floor where the crusher plant is located, and the road leading into the quarry floor.”
Download the MSHA 103(k) order here (1 page, 220 KB)
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Certified letter to RMI regarding its second proposed plan modification, Feb. 3, 2023
The Bureau of Land Management and Rocky Mountain Industrials were in the midst of a second round of back-and-forth documents dealing with BLM’s Noncompliance Order
when the Jan. 18 slope collapse occurred.
BLM first issued the order on Aug. 30, 2022, citing four problem areas in quarry operations, including an out-of-compliance quarry highwall. RMI submitted a proposed plan modification on Oct. 10; BLM found that first proposal incomplete.
The agency sent RMI a pointed letter on Nov. 9 listing its expectations. RMI’s response arrived on Jan. 6, and BLM was in the process of reviewing it for completeness.
BLM’s response to RMI, dated Feb. 3, is signed by Larry Sandoval, Field Manager for the Colorado River Valley Field Office in Silt. He provided a copy of the letter to the GSCA on Feb. 23.
The BLM letter states: “Due to changed conditions resulting from a large rockslide incident … BLM does not have sufficient information to review or potentially approve RMI’s plan modification as submitted, and therefore has concluded that the plan modification is incomplete.”
The BLM letter cites the MSHA order requiring RMI to “provide a written plan to recover the benches and face stability in the quarry.”
BLM expects this “yet unknown” recovery plan “will significantly change the scope of RMI’s plan modification.” RMI must now provide a plan that resolves the four original out-of-compliance problems and meets new requirements imposed by MSHA.
The letter also notes, “BLM expects this change will result in an increase in disturbed acres.”
Sandoval’s letter concludes by stating that BLM “requires additional time to consider the implications of the wall collapse,” but notes that the agency “waives no rights related to enforcement of the violations” cited in August 2022.
Download the BLM Feb. 3 response to RMI here (2 pages, 960 KB)