Legal action filed by Rocky Mountain Resources against Garfield County
Issues related to Rocky Mountain Resources’ current quarry operations have become the subject of litigation filed by RMR against Garfield County.
In the fall of 2018, the Citizens’ Alliance, City of Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Caverns asked Garfield County to review operations at the RMR quarry. Non-compliance with the county special use permit was suspected.
The county permit has been in place since 1982, when the quarry was first developed by Mid-Continent Resources. The permit was amended in 2009 to include additional restrictions to mining operations.
To understand the situation, the Garfield Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) directed county staff to review quarry operations and report back in 90 days.
On March 25, 2019, the commissioners heard the results of the staff review along with comments from the Citizens’ Alliance. The commissioners agreed to hold a more formal public review meeting on April 22, 2019.
In the April 22 meeting, the Garfield Board of County Commissioners found five aspects of RMR’s current quarry operations to be out of compliance with its county special use permit. On May 8, 2019, Garfield County issued a formal Notice of Violation citing these areas of non-compliance:
- Size of the quarry exceeds the permitted 16.3 acres.
- RMR is mining and selling types of rock material not included in county permit approvals.
- RMR conducted mining operations during the winter months despite a 2009 restriction.
- RMR has not adhered to required Maintenance Plan, specifically relating to noise from rock-crushing and back-up beepers on equipment.
- RMR drilled a series of exploratory holes in the Leadville Limestone without county authorization.
The commissioners set a June 1, 2019, deadline for RMR to bring its quarrying operations back into compliance.
Rather than comply, RMR filed lawsuits against the county in May 2019 in both federal and state courts. The suits allege that Garfield County does not have jurisdictional authority over mining operations on federal lands.
Garfield County has engaged outside legal counsel to assist in its defense.
The Citizens’ Alliance stands in support of Garfield County, and is following the legal proceedings.
What has happened so far:
May 17, 2019: RMR files suit against Garfield County in Garfield District Court (state court)
May 21, 2019: RMR files suit against Garfield County in U.S. District Court (federal court)
July 22, 2019: Garfield County files a Motion to to Dismiss or Stay for the case in federal court, arguing that state court is the more appropriate venue for the case.
September 29, 2019: U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Gordon Gallagher in Grand Junction issues a recommendation calling for a stay of the case in federal court while the matter is heard in state court. The recommendation is subject to approval in U.S. District Court in Denver.
November 29, 2019: U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson orders a stay of the case in federal court, allowing the matter to be heard in state court.
January 7, 2020: The City of Glenwood Springs files a motion to intervene in the case, citing a need to protect tax revenue, city-owned property, and significant investments in downtown, open space, and recreational assets.