Glenwood Springs City Council expected to take a stand against quarry | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs City Council expected to take a stand against quarry

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

Glenwood Springs City Council will consider a resolution Thursday evening opposing the proposed Rocky Mountain Resources limestone quarry expansion above town.

The resolution presents a number of findings, including what city leaders believe will be negative impacts of RMR’s proposed expansion of the quarry, and asks Colorado’s Congressional delegation for support.

“[Expansion] of the mine would lead to large visual impacts, mire the city in truck traffic, damage the thriving tourist economy, and seriously impact the water quality and air quality for thousands of rural Coloradans,” the resolution states.

Glenwood Springs is “a small city with an economy based on travel, tourism, outdoor recreation, fishing, hospitality, hot springs, and other sectors that depend upon the mountains, rivers, clear skies, and sounds of nature,” the resolution states; all of which could be damaged by an expanded quarry, it concludes.

RMR is in the process of submitting a Plan of Operations Modification to the Bureau of Land Management, which owns the land where the quarry sits.

RMR is currently operating beyond the scope of its permit, but is seeking to resolve the issue by asking the BLM to approve a much larger expansion.

A copy of the proposal provided to the Post Independent shows that RMR seeks to expand the active quarry area from its current size of around 20 acres to 320 acres, with the aim of removing five million tons of rock each year.

Another concern the city council has is the increase in commercial truck traffic hauling limestone down Traver Trail and over the Devereux Road bridge to the Union Pacific railroad yard, with as many as 500 trips per day.

The council also requested the BLM provide to the city a copy of the current proposal, which RMR submitted March 8. The BLM has not started its completeness review for that proposal, according to a spokesperson for the BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office in Silt.

RMR has more to add before BLM can begin it’s review for completeness, the BLM spokesperson said.

BLM staff will have 30 days from the date of complete submission to determine whether RMR’s proposal is ready to go through public and environmental review processes.

The council also asked the BLM to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement, rather than the less complex Environmental Assessment, to “identify the significant effects the proposed mining expansion will have on the quality of the human environment.”

“Glenwood Springs and the region call for support from our Colorado Congressional delegation and request that they stand with the public values and regional economy of Glenwood Springs,” the council’s resolution said.

The resolution also requests the Department of Interior comply with a Freedom of Information Act Request filed by the Glenwood Springs Citizens Alliance about information RMR has submitted to the federal government.

The council is also considering an ordinance related to commercial truck hauling routes which, though not directly related to the proposed quarry expansion, would give the city more authority over traffic on roads that the mine trucks would use.

RMR previously submitted a proposal in late November, which the BLM returned as incomplete Dec. 21.

At the county level, the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners on Monday is scheduled to hear an update on an investigation into RMR’s alleged noncompliance with its special use permit.

tphippen@postindependent.com

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that BLM has not received a full proposal to review for completeness.


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