New Castle unanimously opposes RMR’s proposed mine expansion
New Castle has joined several towns, cities and counties by supporting Glenwood Springs in its fight against a proposed quarry expansion by Rocky Mountain Resources (RMR).
Earlier this week, the New Castle Town Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing RMR’s proposed Transfer Trail mine expansion on BLM land north of Glenwood Springs.
“I think we may have been the only municipality that sat down with representatives from RMR,” Art Riddile, New Castle mayor, said. “We approached RMR a while back to invite them to a town council meeting to get their side of the story, but they respectfully declined.”
However, two RMR representatives – including its Vice President of Colorado Operations Bobby Wagner – did meet with Riddile, Mayor Pro Tem Grady Hazelton and Town Administrator David Reynolds on Oct. 9.
“We had a presentation put forth by [RMR],” Riddile said. “We just wanted to get the other side of the story.”
Riddile said he was taken aback by portions of RMR’s presentation including the company’s desire to facilitate 450 round trip truckloads between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week.
“That just sounded astounding,” Riddile said. “They said this operation could last from 20 to as long as 60 years. To me, personally, I found that … unacceptable.”
RMR has also proposed expanding its current 15.7-acre quarry to a total permit area of 447 acres and the ability to blast and crush 5 million tons of rock per year.
Additionally, when asked if concerned about New Castle Town Attorney David H. McConaughy also representing RMR, Riddile said he was not.
“I absolutely do not see any conflict of interest. He has disclosed this from the very beginning,” Riddile said of McConaughy who has served as the town’s attorney since 1998. “He is a contract employee of the town of New Castle and as far as I am concerned he can pick and choose his own battles.”
The resolution of support strongly opposed the mine expansion citing concerns over its negative impacts on regional tourism, water and air quality, traffic and noise.
New Castle joins Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale, Silt, Rifle and Pitkin County which have all approved resolutions of support.
“It is the city’s hope that by presenting a unified voice on this issue, the local BLM office as well as the state and Washington DC BLM will hear and be responsive to our regional concerns and recognize the importance of our local voices,” Debra Figueroa, Glenwood Springs city manager, said.
The city of Glenwood Springs will petition Eagle County and the city of Aspen next on Nov. 12.
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