City’s motion to intervene in quarry lawsuit granted |

City’s motion to intervene in quarry lawsuit granted

In this March 2018 file photo, a truck leaves the Rocky Mountain Resources limestone quarry on lower Transfer Trail north of Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent file

The city of Glenwood Springs’ motion to intervene in Rocky Mountain Industrials, Inc.’s (RMI) lawsuit against Garfield County has been granted.

The city filed a motion to intervene in RMI’s lawsuit against the county in January, which District Court Judge Anne Norrdin granted last Friday.

Last May, Garfield County issued a notice of violation to RMI after it failed to comply with seasonal restrictions, among others, pursuant to the county’s special use permit for the quarry.

Following the notice of violation, RMI sued Garfield County in May of 2019, alleging it had no regulatory authority over operations at the Mid-Continent quarry because the federal government also regulates the site. 

The county has since issued a second notice of violation to RMI, in which Garfield County Community Development Director Sheryl Bower stated “this repetitive disregard of county regulations cannot continue.”

The open pit mine sits on federal land approximately one mile north of downtown Glenwood Springs, adjacent to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

In its motion to intervene, Glenwood Springs City Attorney Karl Hanlon argued that the county does in fact have concurrent regulatory authority over the mine’s operations.

Hanlon also argued that the city has its own regulatory and proprietary interests not adequately represented by the county. 

“There are a number of interests that we have as a community that are a little more specific and a little more nuanced than the county’s,” Hanlon said. 

In its motion to intervene, the city cited those specific interests that include: police powers and regulatory authority on the roads that provide access to the quarry; maintenance of emergency services to the quarry and beyond; protecting tourism revenues; preserving and enhancing open space as well as protecting and preserving the environment. 

“This is good news. The city continues to gain small victories in this fight against RMI,” Mayor Jonathan Godes stated in a news release. “This proposed quarry expansion is right on our doorstep and we are, and will continue to be, vigilant in our fight for the vibrancy of Glenwood Springs.” 

RMI has applied to expand the existing mine site from 15.7 acres to that of 447 acres. RMI’s application also anticipates up to 500 truck trips per day between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Additionally, the expanded mine would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week with blasting allowed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 

Glenwood Springs has garnered support from neighboring communities including Carbondale, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and others in its fight against the mine expansion.

“The court granting the motion to intervene is a crucial first step,” Hanlon said. “But, we have a long road ahead of us to protect the city and its citizens.”

Requests for comment from RMI were not returned Monday.

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