Lower Blue Residents United
LBRU Mission: To sustain and protect the valley’s traditional agricultural character, promote the safety of the residents, livestock and wildlife, and maintain the environmental integrity of the valley through education, collaboration and community involvement. To not allow our water quality and air quality to be degraded. A gravel mining operation would be antithetical to these values and the permitting process must be influenced to defeat this destructive project.
Colorado nature photographer, John Fielder, who lives in the Lower Blue valley, has formed a non-profit organization to influence the approval process. Lower Blue Residents United (LBRU) is the trade name of For Kids & Nature (EIN 84-1437466). It is an IRS-approved 501 (c)(3) charitable entity and donations to it are tax deductible. John Fielder is Executive Director and serves for no compensation.
Harris Sherman, also a resident of the valley, is Chief Strategist. Harris is one of Colorado’s premier natural resource experts. He is a former Executive Director of Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources, former Chairman of Colorado Mine Land Reclamation Board, and former Undersecretary USDA overseeing the U.S. Forest Service. He supervised the 2017 defeat of a proposed gravel quarry near Colorado Springs.
Lower Blue Residents United Strategy
The Lower Blue Master Plan is our legal basis for stopping the pit, and we will stop it. The safety of all valley residents, visitors, and Highway 9 drivers is at stake. Imagine the issues related to countless vehicle turns into and out of the many side roads between Maryland Creek and Ute Pass Road, and those from there to Kremmling. Imagine the noise impact on humans and wildlife, the air pollution from diesel exhaust of high-revving engines shifting their gears through the canyons, the scenic views impacted by a veritable freight train of truck traffic, as well as the impact on all of those tourists looking forward to their bucolic drive to Steamboat Springs.
The existing valley advocacy organization, Friends of the Lower Blue River (FOLBR), cannot be involved, other than to provide unbiased information, due to conflicts of interest related to its three board members who simultaneously serve on the LBPC.
LBRU will work to influence the Lower Blue Planning Commission not to recommend approval by the Summit County Board of Commissioners. If LBPC does not recommend approval, and Peak Materials appeals to the Commission, LBRU will work to influence that body to deny the permits. Since both the county and the state must ultimately approve permits, Peak Materials has the option to gain permits from Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety before it applies for the county permits. If Peak so chooses, LBRU will work to influence the state to deny the permits.
If the permits are approved by both the county and state, LBRU will pursue defeat of the proposal via legal action. If the permits are denied by either county or state, and Peak materials pursues legal action, LBRU will work to stop that, too.
In order to achieve these ends, LBRU will work to:
- gain the support of the entire Lower Blue Valley community, as well as other interested and/or vested parties
- evaluate the impact of gravel mining on Highway 9 traffic (noise from both the trucks and the mining), air quality (from dust and diesel fumes), water of the Lower Blue River and its groundwater, wildlife, wetlands, recreation, and overall property values
- hire expert witnesses to evaluate these impacts who can effectively testify at hearings and proceedings before the county and State. We will retain a mining engineer, wildlife expert, water expert, property appraisers, and others
- present evidence of the massive acreage of federal wilderness on both sides of the valley (Eagles Nest and Ptarmigan Peak), Summit County Open Space, and ranchlands protected from development by conservation easements
- evaluate reclamation plans of Peak Materials if/when gravel mining ceases at the Hillyard property
- raise the money needed to finance the campaign
- rally concerned citizens to attend any and all appropriate meetings and hearings
Mining the Hillyard Property
Peak Materials has said that the Hillyard property will be mined for 10 years, then reclaimed. The aggregate must be transported 7 miles to the Maryland Creek batch plant for processing. The number of trucks coming and going per day will be 115, so 230 accounting for both directions. This means a truck every 3 minutes 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Maryland Creek Planned Life
Peak Materials currently excavates aggregate from Cell #4 at Maryland Creek. They have said this will continue through 2019, then use materials from the Hillyard property 2020 – 2030. They have also suggested that they will then open Cell #5 at Maryland Creek and mine it 2031 – 2038. They will mine Cell #6 at Maryland Creek 2038 – 2058. This includes the land under the processing plant.
Peak Materials also owns 3 gravel pits near Kremmling, one on the Yust Ranch, and two more east of Kemmling along Highway 40. They have said that if they do not get permission from the county to mine the Hillyard property, that they will mine the Kremmling properties instead and transport the aggregate to Maryland Creek 35 miles along Highway 9 with the same 230 one way truck trips.