Formal environmental review process won’t begin until mid-2020
The Bureau of Land Management notified the Glenwood Springs Citizens’ Alliance today that Rocky Mountain Resources Aggregates has submitted a new proposal for its planned strip mine north of Glenwood Springs.
The submittal arrived at BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office in Silt on Thursday, July 11. Under federal mining regulations, BLM has 30 days to review the proposal for completeness.
RMR’s two previous submissions, made in November 2018 and March 2019, were both rejected for being incomplete and for failing to sufficiently address non-compliance issues with existing quarry operations.
Whether or not the latest proposal is deemed complete, BLM won’t likely begin the formal environmental and public review process until late spring or summer of 2020, according to David Boyd, spokesman for BLM in Silt.
In the meantime, BLM plans to conduct five narrowly focused studies that will provide baseline information.
The five studies are:
- A mineral exam to determine the quality of limestone in the mountainside
- Hydrologic study of water resources
- Cave and karst geology study
- Ethnographic study of human use in prehistoric times
- Biological resources and cultural surveys
Once these studies are complete, BLM will launch public scoping for the environmental review. The scoping process gives the public an opportunity to identify the range of issues that should be studied and evaluated in the environmental review process.
“We applaud the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office for notifying us within a day of receiving this submission,” said Jeff Peterson, executive director of the Citizens’ Alliance.
“Because of an extensive letter-writing campaign by GSCA members in June, BLM officials now fully understand how important this issue is to us,” Peterson added.
BLM has also posted a three-page FAQ about the RMR strip mine proposal. The FAQ includes a helpful explanation of the mineral exam issue, and information about what BLM is doing to address current non-compliance problems at the quarry.
The FAQ also addresses a question in the minds of many about the BLM decision-making process, because of the professional ties between RMR’s lobbying firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Shreck, and U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
The FAQ documents states:
“The Field Manager for the Colorado River Valley Field Office will sign the decision.
“As is typical with high profile, controversial issues, other levels of the agency such as the BLM Colorado State Office, BLM National Office, and the Department of the Interior will be involved.”
Watch your inbox for more information, and please continue to talk with your family, friends and neighbors about this issue. Everyone who LOVES GLENWOOD SPRINGS needs to know about the environment and economic threat to the community.