Rifle, GarCo discuss gravel pit issue | PostIndependent.com

Rifle, GarCo discuss gravel pit issue

RIFLE – Reclamation of the Colorado River Basin following the increasing number of gravel pits along the corridor from New Castle to Rifle was the top concern voiced by local municipalities to the Garfield County Commissioners Wednesday night.The joint, informational discussion came up in light of two recent applications for gravel pits in both Silt and Rifle.Members of the Rifle City Council asked that the impacts of the mining be addressed and proposed an Environmental Impact Study be conducted by reclamation specialists.”The goal here is to create a collaboration between the city and county to fund the studies,” said Councilor Jennifer Firmin. “We want to take a proactive stance to ensure reclamation.”Councilor Alan Lambert outlined his concerns about the gravel pits, including impacts to water quality, wildlife, economic development, flooding, conservation and reclamation.”We need to reclaim one (gravel pit) before the next in line, otherwise we’ll have a huge industrial strip,” Lambert said.Frank Breslin, mayor of New Castle, said his town’s main concern was the economic impact it might have if too much gravel was mined all at once.”Should this resource be exhausted prematurely, the economic impact on the buildling industries and the consumers would impair our communties’ futures,” Breslin said.He added that a reclamation plan should include a landscaping plan, a timetable for completion and a performance bond. The reclaimed land should then be dedicated to the public.Breslin also suggested that the topsoil from the mined land be saved instead of sold and used for reclamation purposes.Silt Mayor Dave Moore asked if the affected municipalities could be reimbursed for the impacts to their communities.”There’s going to be more of a demand in this area for this type of gravel,” Moore said. “We’ll be more impacted in the future than we are now.”In response to the request for an EIS, County Commissioner John Martin pointed out that a study had already been conducted five years ago that included all the communities from Carbondale to Parachute and addressed all the concerns being raised.Martin proposed that the study, which includes a geological survey and reports from the Army Corps of Engineers, be brought out and re-visited.The city and county agreed to discuss the issue again in the near future.

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