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Judge rejects mining company lawsuit over contested quarry

July 2, 2021 GMT

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Garfield County judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a Denver-based mining company that contended the county could not regulate its rock quarry mining operation near Glenwood Springs because the operation is on federal land.

Opponents of the mining operation hailed the ruling, saying a contrary decision could have eroded counties’ ability to ensure that mining and other industrial activity on federal land meet local environmental standards.

Rocky Mountain Industrials Inc. has mined limestone north of the city and has asked the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to let it expand to 447 acres (179 hectares), The Post-Independent reports. The company’s expansion request to the BLM is pending.

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In 2019, county commissioners determined RMI was operating outside conditions set by a local permit. RMI sued the county, seeking to overturn that citation.

District Judge Anne K. Norrdin ruled June 26 that she could find no indisputable error by the commissioners in order to grant RMI a successful appeal.

Norrdin said a county special use permit for the quarry “does not authorize unrestricted or unregulated mining activities by RMI, nor does it insulate RMI from action” by county commissioners.

An email seeking comment from RMI wasn’t immediately returned Friday.

The company has said quarry expansion will create 100 jobs and that it’s proposed measures to mitigate increased truck traffic.