Dear SOSVV community,

Happy Holidays to you and your families. We have much to be grateful for this season. We were informed in February 2017 that Martin Marietta Materials would be starting gravel mining in the St Vrain Valley by Fall 2017. Thanks to our joint efforts and due diligence, Permit SU 96-18 is on hold and under scrutiny by a third party consultant hired by the Land Use Department.

I’m grateful for neighbors we’ve met and others we’ve gotten to know better; that The St Vrain Valley has arguably the greatest biodiversity in Boulder County and a rich archeological history (see Letter from the Editor below for details on Archeological findings). I feel especially blessed that in the 21st century we have the eagles soaring above us, pioneer families, our Native Relatives, and activists working together to protect this land and water, preserve its history and guide its future. I’m grateful that we’re learning from history and advocating for a better tomorrow. And I’m grateful to each of you that have contributed of your time and resources to Save Our St Vrain Valley.

Lily Trienens and I met with the Patagonia staff, and they have since made their local grant decisions for this second quarter. We are very excited to hear of their allocation decision and will update you. 

Patagonia also extended a generous invitation to SOSVV and will host an in store presentation / event on Dec 5th. Counter-culture, the Pearl street store will be closed during Holiday shopping hours in lieu of this event. Please join us, see box below for details.  Also, please join us for our next community meeting on Thursday, December 14th at the Shupe’s Homestead at 6 PM with guest presenter Dr. Tom Grover, Colorado Community Rights Network, COCRNMore good news, The Associated Press & The Denver Post reported on Wednesday, November 23rd that The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled the County Commissioners improperly approved a Martin Marietta Materials plant near a residential neighborhood. To recap, the Court of Appeals overturned Weld County’s 2015 approval of an almost completed $20 million Martin Marietta Materials’ concrete and asphalt plant currently under construction.  “In explaining the meaning of the ruling regarding a lack of competent evidence, Judge Terry Fox, who wrote the opinion, cited previous court cases and basically affirmed something neighbors to the plant have been saying for years.
Lack of competent evidence occurs when the administrative decision is so devoid of evidentiary support that it can only be explained as an arbitrary and capricious exercise of authority,’” Judge Fox said.

I hope the Land Use Director, Dale Case, and Boulder County Commissioners will agree that this is a timely ruling and sets a pivotal legal precedence in their consideration of SU 96-18 and in support of SOSVV’s documented and persistent *request for their immediate ruling enforcing the five-year inactivity lapse provision that would terminate this permit.  There has been no approved “use” activity under any portion of SU 96-18 according to the project area land owner BCPOS’ Director, Eric Lane: “Martin Marietta has initiated a review of the Special Use Permit with the Boulder County Land Use Department as a step toward potentially mobilizing the mining operation since none of the mining activity permitted in 1998 has yet to begin”.

The Court of Appeal’s overturned a recent permit approval for a Martin Marietta mining project based on it’s impact to residents in WELD county. How much more liable, irresponsible, embarrassing and absurd would it be for Boulder County officials to approve SU 96-18 given its unique, undeniable facts and logistics, community impact and opposition?

SU 96-18 pertains to Martin Marietta’s acquired, 20 year old inactive permit, located in a project area that is zoned Residential / Agricultural AND in a Moderate Hazard Zone: “Moderate Hazard Area shall mean that area…where geologic conditions are such that *significant geotechnical problems exist and there is provisional risk related to intensive land uses…The county shall discourage intensive uses in Moderate Hazard Areas”. The project area is in the 100 year floodplain which was devastated by a historic Natural disaster in the 2013 Flood (changing the topography). It contains arguably the greatest biodiversity in Boulder County and pre-historic, historic, national and Native American archeological sites and treasures. 

I certainly hope that Boulder County’s Director of Land Use and County Commissioners will not make an arbitrary and capricious choice by ignoring the evidentiary support and competent evidence that has been provided to them by SOSVV, it’s community members and allies, or worse fall behind Weld county in protecting the environment and its residents. 

My deepest gratitude and heart-felt Congratulations to this Weld County community– Motherlove Herbal Company, Indianhead West Homeowners Association, Inc., Rockin S. Ranch LLC, John Cummings, David Kisker, Gary Oplinger; Wolfgang Dirks, and James Piraino. It is a great accomplishment for that community and for the collective endeavor of Community Rights and Rights of Nature.  NIMBY– Not In My Back Yard– is not an insult, but a responsibility and an obligation; if we do not have influence over what happens in our backyard, then we do not have influence anywhere in our political system or environment.

We are at the tipping point on mining Permit SU 96-18. I encourage each of you to dig deep within yourselves and do all you can NOW– to Save our St Vrain. Your tax deductible donations will be diligently appropriated for our educational outreach, community development, environmental protection campaigns, and legal fund. Signs, Signs, everywhere–County officials are in the area daily because of Flood Restorations work (due in large part to previously mined ‘pretty’ ponds that ruptured / failed during the 2013 floods). Please display your lawn signs. I can virtually guarantee that it will be less offensive to your neighbors than airborne crystalline silicafugitive dust, noise and light pollution, traffic, etc.. The Land Use Dept. and County Commissioners need to hear from anyone and everyone that does not want open pit gravel mining in the St Vrain Valley.

Wishing you blessings this Holiday season,

Amanda Dumenigo, 
SOSVV, Chairperson

        

Join us for a panel discussuion on local
Community Rights & Rights of Nature
Keynote speakers:

Amanda Dumenigo, SOSVV
Josh James, East Boulder County United
Dr. Tom Grover, COCRN

Tuesday, December 5th at 7:00 – 9:00 pm
at the Patagonia Store
1212 Pearl Street, Boulder

Beer and Snacks Provided courtesy of Patagonia
*Please register on SOSVV Facebook page

Julie Lamm, Marty Chase Alone, Charlie Red Cloud on front of Ghost Dance tipi, Hygiene, CO August, 2017
Below Letter from the Editor to Land Use Director on Archeological reports & findings
Dear Dale,

Robert Haigh informed us last week that you are currently still evaluating the data submitted by SOSVV and Martin Marietta Materials’ log regarding consistent permit inactivity / lapse provision that would justly require Martin Marietta to apply for a new permit and one subject to current standards and conditions. The timing appears to be serendipitous as we have finally obtained and are reviewing / consulting on CORA documents pertaining to Martin Marietta’s overall environmental assessment and mitigation work for permit application Docket SU-96-18.

After preliminary review of these archeological reports and studies done in the project area, specifically Class III Historic and Architectural resources inventory of lands for Western Mobile and Hart Environmental reports, conducted between August 9th and August 30, 1997 by Western Historical Studies, Inc. (and in 1949 and in the 1980’s) on the ~600 acres project area, located east of US HWY 36 and south of HWY 66, we’ve found some alarming facts that are highlighted subsequently for your immediate consideration:

1) Recommendations made by the archeologist(s) for further study of numerous sites were never done.

2) at least 18 sites (including three prehistoric sites, several BURIAL sites 5BL2 / 5BL379, 5BL8, 5BL62, 5BL9, 5BL285), 15 irrigation related sites were determined to meet the eligibility criteria for the National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP) and none of the sites were / have been registered.

“The survey resulted in the recordation of three archeological sites, five farmstead sites, two agriculturally related building sites, 15 irrigation sites (ditches & features)…Each of the 15 irrigation related sites are recommended as eligible for inclusion in the NRHP because of their relationship to the pioneer development of irrigation in Boulder County and their relationship to the early 20th century expansion of irrigation in the County”. Also discovered in Site 5BL876, “the earliest and westernmost known occurrence of Plains Pottery in Colorado”. 

*The burden of responsibility for filing with the NRHP lies with the landowner– and in the case of the project area in question, that is BCPOS’ [Boulder Parks & Open Space] jurisdiction.  We formally request that BCPOS do their due diligence and register each of the recommended eligible sites, including all irrigation sites, to prevent further desecration of irreplaceable artifacts and burial sites, and to ensure that appropriate consideration and maximum protection (that has NOT been applied) is applied moving forward.

The State of Colorado passed statutes encouraging counties and local government to protect cultural resources with House Colorado Bills 1034 & 1041 that require that cultural resource values be considered. Colorado State legislature in the Colorado Register of Historic Places Act (CRS 24-80) legally recognizes the importance of the states’ cultural heritage and insures that heritage is considered in the application process.

In summary, “Based on very limited test excavations comprised of shovel tests…the density of artifacts (247 recovered), the presence of undisturbed and datable archeological components, and the site’s surprisingly great and still underdetermined depth are characteristics which fulfill the eligibility criteria for inclusion into the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)”  [Project Historian, Dr. Steven F Mehls, November 4th, 1997; Colorado Office of Archeology & Historic Preservation Cultural Resource Survey Management Information Form].

I am compelled to share with you, the Land Use Department, BCPOS, and Boulder County Commissioners that we have a tremendous affinity, support, and collaboration with the Native American community. We are honored to have the Ghost Dance tipi from Standing Rock, ND in Hygiene, CO for educational purposes from the Oglala Lakota since May 2017. We hosted an Eagle blessing ceremony on August 27th, led by Marty Chase Alone, the Great Grandson of Lakota Holy Medicine Man, Nicolas Black Elk of the famous book Black Elk Speaks, 1932. Since then Marty Chase Alone leads monthly ceremonial lodges in Hygiene. We are also blessed by the songs and prayers of award winning Lakota traditional singer, Charlie Red Cloud, the direct descendant of Chief Red Cloud. Most recently, in October we hosted the Shining Mountain Waldorf School’s Fourth Grade class for an educational field trip– as they study Native American History. Up coming, Marty Chase Alone and Charlie Red Cloud will speak at the Shining Mountain Waldorf School’s Thanksgiving assembly on Black Elk’s vision of the Red Road to students, alumni, parents and faculty–  Black Elk Speaks was required reading for SMWS high school students.

As chairperson of SOSVV and as a water-protector and community organizer of the Standing Rock movement, I can attest to the fact that any disturbance of historic Native American sites and graves will not be taken lying down in Boulder County by members of our community and our relatives in Native American communities. There is a precedence in this valley set by Shoshone elder, Julie Lamm, settler Friz Bartley, and others. In 1978 pioneer settlers like Mr.Bartley (propelled by his childhood memory of blood on the snow-covered-ground when government officials marched the Arapohoe people barefooted out of this valley) and Julie Lamm (a Native American activist, elder and advisor of SOSVV) protected the Native American burial ground on the NW corner of Hygiene Road & HWY 36 from Cemex.

In conclusion, in the Evaluation of Research section of the report, the recommendation is clearly stated:

The remaining remnants of archeology for the survey area are both regrettable in their loss since the beginning of historical development in the area and the “’significance’” of what is left remaining intact. As archeological resources become increasingly fewer due to their loss by development, erosion, etc. what remains, becomes even more significant when considering their long term conservation….Additional excavations conducted at prehistoric sites….have the potential to yield buried information significant to providing information regarding, but not limited to, chronological placement, function, and intra-site patterning”. (from Evaluation of Research Pg. 28).

The archeological research index confirming the historical significance and Native American presence in the St Vrain Valley including Jack Moomaw, Alan Peter Olson 1949-1950, Cassells & Farrington (1986), Meir (1987), Nykamp (1984), Scott (1984) and Riggs (1987) each attest to the need for further independent study and perservation of what remains.

It appears that our previous local government and the previous owners of SU 96-18 were not encouraged by the law or compliant with the recommendations made in the mandated studies to protect cultural resources. Fortunately, it’s not 1998, 1949, or 1984, and Boulder County has new stewardship and the power and responsibility to request a formal, unbiased, thorough and proper inventory of Native American and White settler cultural sites be undertaken in the St. Vrain Valley within and near the Martin Marietta area of mining interest.

I respectfully request that Boulder County officials choose to thoroughly research the archeological history of this area and take all appropriate steps that were recommended and have not been done, including but not limited to registering historic sites with NRHP in order to protect and conserve prehistoric & historic archeological sites and sacred Native American burial grounds and artifacts for the next seven generations.

Sincerely,

Amanda Dumenigo

Ghost Dance tipi, Standing Rock, ND 2016

Ghost Dance tipi, Hygiene, CO 2017

 

Boulder camper at Standing Rock, ND November 2016

Holiday Gift Donation to SOSVV
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2 thoughts on “

    • Hio John,
      Thank you and for your endorsement of the newsletter. You can either donate online using the “donate blue button” or you can mail it to 11742 N 59th street Longmont, CO 80503.
      Gratefully,
      Amanda

      Like

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