State court reopens RMR’s lawsuit
A Colorado judge in Garfield County officially reopened RMR Industrial’s lawsuit against Garfield County Thursday.
The court will likely hear and rule on the limestone quarry’s claim that the county doesn’t have power to enforce permits on federal land.
RMR filed the state court lawsuit in May, and days later filed virtually the same case in federal court, setting up a jurisdictional battle that lasted until November.
U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson officially stayed the federal case Nov. 29, clearing the way for the local case to proceed.
RMR had wanted to argue the lawsuit, which stems from the Garfield County commissioners’ finding that the quarry was out of compliance with the county permit, in federal court. Garfield County argued that the state court was the appropriate place to decide the lawsuit, and the federal court agreed.
“The temporary stay is lifted in light of U.S. District Court Judge Brooke Jackson’s adoption of Magistrate Gordon Gallagher’s recommendation that the parallel federal action brought by RMR against Garfield County be stayed,” 9th District Judge Anne Norrdin wrote in a Thursday order.
Norrdin had stayed the state case earlier this year while the federal court decided whether they would take the parallel case.
The case will now proceed in accordance with Colorado guidelines, and could take months to reach a resolution.
On May 8, Garfield County commissioners determined RMR was violating the permit in five ways: operating outside the permit area, selling materials not allowed, crushing rock during winter off-season, failing to maintain the road, and drilling exploratory holes.
The county set a date of June 1 for RMR to come into compliance. Instead, RMR filed the two lawsuits.
According to RMR, the county “exceeded its jurisdiction” and “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner” by ordering the quarry to cease operations outside the county’s permit.
RMR argues that the county lacks authority “to prohibit certain uses of the property” which the Bureau of Land Management had approved.
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