Glenwood Springs limestone quarry operator loses appeal to overturn seasonal restrictions |

Glenwood Springs limestone quarry operator loses appeal to overturn seasonal restrictions

A closeup of the RMI limestone quarry rockslide area north of Glenwood Springs.
Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance photo

On Thursday, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a 33-page ruling that affirms Garfield County’s authority to continue to impose seasonal restrictions on operations at RMI’s Mid-Continent limestone quarry.

The ruling follows a recent debris slide at the quarry, but the court proceedings date back to 2019 when RMI filed suit after Garfield County issued a notice of violation in May 2019 against the quarry operators.

The Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance — a grassroots group organized in opposition to RMI’s proposed quarry expansion — released a statement on Thursday, saying Garfield could also legally seek reimbursement from RMI for costs in the case.

“The Court of Appeals clearly saw through RMI’s false claims, and instead upheld Garfield County’s authority to enforce its environmental regulations on a mining operation on federal land,” Springs Citizens’ Alliance President Jeff Peterson said in the release.

“Garfield County’s prohibition against winter mining operations, and its enforcement of other permit violations, is clearly supported by case law and by common sense,” Peterson added. “We applaud the Garfield County Commissioners for standing up to RMI, and we are pleased to see the county’s authority affirmed by the Court of Appeals.”

The appellate court ruling comes one month after a 300-foot-wide slope collapse occurred at the quarry, prompting the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to issue an order shutting down quarry operations until a safety plan is approved, the release states.

A three-judge Court of Appeals panel heard oral arguments in the case on Jan. 24, and issued its ruling just three weeks later. RMI was represented in the case by Chris Bryan with the law firm Garfield & Hecht. Garfield County was represented by special counsel at Arnold & Porter.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to clarify the court proceeds as being separate from the recent debris slide at the quarry.

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