ALERT! On August 5, 2020, Peak Materials announced that they will move forward with the project by applying for the required mining permit from the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS).
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.
Act now to have your voice heard! You can play a decisive part in the defeat of this very bad idea in 3 ways!
FIRST We believe that we can convince the MLRB to deny the permit. Our experts in the domains of water, wildlife, fishery, transportation, and reclamation judge Peak’s application to DRMS to be woefully inadequate and challengeable for a multitude of reasons. There will be a public hearing later this year or in early 2021, and we will be there to present evidence.
You have a right to testify if you are: a person or entity who demonstrates that they are directly and adversely affected or aggrieved by the conduct of a mining operation or proposed mining operation. Letters must be received by DRMS by October 8, 2020. Use the template below to seek “Party” status. If you submit a letter of objection, you will initially be identified as a party to the case, which provides you with rights to participate in the case, including testifying if you should decide to do so. If you are initially listed as a party to the case, you can later request to withdraw as a party, and would, regardless, lose your party status by failing to appear at the pre-hearing conference. In any event, your voice will be heard!
Be specific in your letter why you are aggrieved, such as, you believe a gravel mine in the Lower Blue River Valley will adversely impact:
- 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 is the complete Permit Application from Peak Materials to CDRMS
YOUR LETTER MUST BE EMAILED (no USPS) NO LATER THAN OCT. 8 TO: email@example.com
Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety
1313 Sherman St.
Denver, CO 80203
RE: Application by Peak Ranch Resource (File No. M2020041)
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to seek Party status to testify about the above-mentioned application by Peak Materials to establish a gravel mining operation at the site designated as Peak Ranch Resource.
I am specifically aggrieved by this proposed project for the following reasons:
(provide relevant narrative)
I wish to be heard at the public hearing of the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board when the Board takes up this application. Please add me to your email distribution list notifying interested parties of the date, time and location for this meeting.
(Your Legal Name)
(Your Legal Address)
(Your Mailing Address if different)
(Your Telephone Number)
(Your Email address)
Number of people in your household______
SECOND 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.
We will elect 3 new commissioners on November 3 to 4-year terms, one for each of Districts 1, 2, and 3. The proposed gravel mine is in District 3. It is important that you learn how the candidates in all 3 districts feel about a gravel mine in the Lower Blue River Valley before you vote. Consider:
- Informing them why you think the mine would be a bad idea.
- Asking their opinion about the proposed mine.
- Urging them that if they win a seat, to explore options for Summit County’s gravel needs other than in the Lower Blue River Valley, both in Summit County and outside.
Here are a few of the candidates among others that you might contact:
District 1: Elisabeth Lawrence: firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2: Tamara Pogue: email@example.com
Josh Blanchard: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Butler: email@example.com
Erin Young: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
THIRD 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 begin fundraising again 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!