Here is the latest news:
April 21-22, 2021 – Formal MLRB Hearing
To you our loyal supporters:
The next step in the permitting process by the state is the formal 2-day hearing before the Mined Land Reclamation Board April 21-22. It will be conducted via Zoom and all registered parties will receive notice of the Zoom link from DRMS. If you are not a party, or if you were not accepted on March 31 to present testimony, you can still listen in. All information about the application and hearings can be found at the DRMS website HERE. If you were accepted by DRMS to present evidence on March 31, you have until April 9 to transmit that evidence to DRMS for the record…documents, PowerPoints, whatever.
Lower Blue Residents United (LBRU)
We have assembled a team of lawyers and experts to address the pertinent issues related to Peak’s application that fall within the jurisdiction of the MLRB. MLRB will impose time limitations on the three primary presenters: proponent (Peak Materials), the DRMS staff (Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety), and the objectors (you and us). It is a 2-day hearing, but MLRB will have other business to consider. Total time spent on Peak’s application may be 12 or more hours, with that time split evenly between those three entities. Cross examination can occur during each period, which is what our attorneys and experts will also be doing. Rest assured that we have paid our experts a lot of money to accumulate a mass of evidence why Peak’s proposal falls far short of DRMS requirements to issue a permit for a gravel mine.
THE HISTORY OF THE ISSUE
On October 15, 2018, Lower Blue valley resident, Julie Hillyard, sold her 80-acre ranch to Peak Materials (formerly LG Everest), operators of the Maryland Creek gravel/aggregate mine north of Silverthorne. The property lies 10 miles north of Silverthorne in between Highway 9 and the Blue River near its confluence with Slate Creek, and just south of the Ute Pass Road. Click here for context map. Peak Materials is a subsidiary of Kilgore Companies, which in turn is a subsidiary of Summit Materials, a national company based in Denver that specializes in mining aggregates and making concrete.
Peak Materials has determined that only limited inventory of aggregate remains at the Maryland Creek site necessitating the company to seek new gravel mining locations. Peak plans to mine aggregate at the Hillyard site and truck it to Maryland Creek for processing. This proposal would fundamentally change the character of the Lower Blue River valley and would require up to 230 truck trips per day (full load south, empty load north).
Summit County Planning Department requires that a Conditional Use Permit be acquired for such operations. The application would be evaluated based upon the Summit County Land Use and Development Code. The Lower Blue Planning Commission (LBPC) is responsible for conducting the review, which would happen 90 days from application. The Hillyard property permit would be a new one, but Peak Materials would also need approval of an updated Maryland Creek permit since that permit does not allow material to be imported from other locations. If LBPC does not recommend approval of the permits, Peak Materials can appeal the decision to Summit County Board of Commissioners.
Peak Materials ultimately must gain approval from Summit County, as well as Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board (MLRB). MLRB is a multi-interest citizen board which establishes the regulations, standards and policies that guide the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS). The Board was created in 1976 by the Colorado General Assembly. Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the legislature, serving terms of 4 years. If either the state or county deny the permit, it is game over for Peak.
Thank you for making your voice heard to DRMS. If you asked for Party status you will be notified by MLRB when and where you can participate in the permit hearing. This will now be sometime in the first half of 2021.
We believe that we can convince the MLRB to deny the permit. LBRU has submitted its own request for Party status on behalf of our experts in the domains of water, wildlife, fishery, transportation, and reclamation. We and they judge Peak’s application to DRMS to be woefully inadequate and challengeable for a multitude of reasons.
Be prepared to testify about adverse impacts on:
- Your water well water quantity and/or quality,
- Wildlife (including the Blue River fishery),
- That Peak’s reclamation plan is inadequate (which it is),
- Even though DRMS is not required to address highway safety, that 230 one-way gravel truck trips a day for 8 months a year back and forth to Maryland Creek for processing, creates a safety hazard for humans and wildlife, potential for vehicles to collide with wildlife, bikers to get run over by gravel trucks, and gravel trucks to collide with cars entering and exiting the various subdivisions between the proposed mine and Maryland Creek.
And/or just say how bad of an idea it is to put a gravel mine in the middle of a rural agrarian valley with:
- Federal Wilderness on both sides,
- 1000s of acres of County protected open space,
- 1000s of acres of working ranches forever protected from development by conservation easements,
- An ex-Gold Medal trout river re-seeking that status,
- Wildlife and people who will be adversely impacted by the noise and air pollution created by 230 one way gravel truck trips a day for 8 months a year back and forth to Maryland Creek,
- No existing industrial activity,
- Inherent protection from Summit County’s Lower Blue Master Plan which deems any industrial activity antithetical to the natural, rural, and economic values of the valley, and their sustainability.
Here are all documents filed to date by Peak Ranch Resources with Colorado DRMS.
If the state does issue a permit, Peak Materials will then need to get a permit from Summit County. (If the state does not, it is game over for Peak.) The county process would begin with a hearing before the Lower Blue Planning Commission next year. If it recommends to the Board of County Commissioners that a permit be denied, Peak Materials may appeal to the Board.
Our new county commissioners elected in November as of January 12, 2021 are:
District 1: Elisabeth Lawrence: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2: Tamara Pogue: email@example.com
District 3: Josh Blanchard: firstname.lastname@example.org
LBRU NEEDS MORE MONEY TO STOP THE PIT
We raised money in 2018 to run this campaign, spent a little bit while we waited for Peak to decide if/when they would proceed with permitting, but knew that we would need to raise quite a lot more to pay the best experts, counsel, and strategist to STOP THE PIT. We must continue fundraising if we are to end in its tracks this outrageous attempt to destroy our valley. Even if you gave us money in 2018, we need more (as we had warned you then!) from you now. All donations are tax deductible per our non-profit status described above. It is easy to make TAX DEDUCTIBLE donations with your credit here at ActBlue or send us a check HERE. The more you give, the sooner we can end this. Thank you!
Note: Lower Blue Residents United is a registered Trade Name of For Kids and Nature (EIN 84-1437466), a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit organization prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. LBRU wants only to educate the public and candidates about gravel mining in the Lower Blue River Valley.