Please join us on December 21st at 6:00 at The Shupe’s Homestead for our next Solstice Community Gathering. The Court of Appeal’s overturned a recent 2015 Special Use permit approval for a Martin Marietta mining project in Weld County based on it’s impact to residents. David Kisker of this Weld County community– (Motherlove Herbal Company, Indianhead West Homeowners Association, Inc., Rockin S. Ranch LLC, David Kisker, John Cummings, Gary Oplinger; Wolfgang Dirks, and James Piraino) is our guest speaker. David Kisker will share lessons learned and much timely insight relevant to our community’s goal for No Mining in the St Vrain. 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.
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 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. 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? 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.
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].
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 spoke 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 is 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 1949, 1998, 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 and that BCPOS register all recommended 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.
From our friends at Rights of Nature for the Colorado River: There has been a change in location for the Colorado River vs Colorado hearing and the addition of a gathering afterwards. Here is the press release:
First Hearing in Colorado River v. Colorado
Denver, CO—For the first time in U.S. legal history, a natural entity itself will stand as a party before the court. The first hearing in Colorado River v. Colorado will address emerging legal issues in rights of nature litigation as well as the Attorney General’s Motion to Dismiss.
“You can try to dismiss a complaint,” says attorney Jason Flores-Williams, “But you can’t dismiss reality.”
Prior to the hearing, there will be a press conference at 9:00 a.m. at the federal courthouse featuring statements from members of Deep Green Resistance, serving as “next friends” to the Colorado in this action. Fair trade coffee provided at the courthouse with an event to follow 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mercury Café located 2199 California St, Denver, CO 80205.
The Mercury Café event will: 1) Provide a guide for groups to file their own rights of nature litigation; 2) Feature a discussion on the rights of nature and creative resistance. The hearing will be at 10:00 a.m. November 14th, 2017 Ctrm C204, Alfred J. Arraj Courthouse, 901 19th St., Denver, CO 80294.
Media inquiries: Law Office of Jason Flores-Williams, 303-514-4524
State Highway 66 (SH66) Future Planning Project
The notice below has just been sent out by the consulting firm that was hired by CDOT in September, 2015, to investigate the “issues” that exist along SH66. I have stated several times over, on this particular “chat” group, that something needed to happen – sooner than later. I have just spoken with Kelly Leadbetter at the consulting firm and have committed to her that “we” (that’s the “collective community”) would do our very best to send their firm CONSTRUCTIVE criticisms and suggestions. Please follow the link and read both the “Purpose and Need” and “Corridor Conditions Report” BEFORE sending in any comments so that you can more efficiently address the “issues”. This is “OUR” opportunity to begin to interact with CDOT, through it’s consultants, so as to allow the SH66 project to address all the important issues. We will be forming a small “investigative” group of folks who, hopefully, can consolidate ALL issues and present them collectively to the consulting firm, Boulder County and CDOT. To those that have recently expressed their concerns on “Nextdoor” – THANK YOU for being a part of “Our Community”!
The State Highway (SH) 66 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) team would like your input! The project’s Purpose and Need as well as the project’s Corridor Conditions Report are now available for review on the project website,https://www.codot.gov/library/studies/co-66-pel Thank you, Kelly Leadbetter, AICP Felsburg Holt & Ullevig 6300 South Syracuse Way, Suite 600, Centennial, CO 80111 Phone: 303-721-1440 | Direct: 720-200-8978 Email: email@example.com
From our friends at Rights of Nature for the Colorado River:
A court date has been set for the Colorado River v. Colorado lawsuit.
Tuesday, November 14 at 9 AM – 11 AM
Byron G. Rogers Courthouse C253 1929 Stout Street Denver, CO 80294
From the Facebook event page:
“The Rights of Nature movement has arrived in the United States! On September 25, Deep Green Resistance, with noted civil rights attorney Jason Flores-Williams, filed a first-in-the-nation lawsuit – Colorado River v. Colorado – seeking personhood for the Colorado River and recognition of the river’s rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and naturally evolve in the United States District Court, District of Denver. While courts in India, New Zealand, and Ecuador have granted rights to ecosytems, this lawsuit represents the first Rights of Nature action ever brought before a federal court. If the case succeeds, the natural world will gain a powerful new tool in the struggle to stop corporate exploitation.
We invite everyone who loves the Colorado River and the natural world who gives us life to pack the courthouse with us for the river’s first court hearing. To make the courthouse our own, we will meet in front of the courthouse at 9 AM for coffee and a brief press conference. Then, we will pack the courtroom. We want to send a strong message to the judge, the State of Colorado, and the nation that it’s time the American legal system honor the Rights of Nature.
This moment presents an opportunity to change the future of American environmental law while securing a foothold for the Rights of Nature movement in this country. Please join us in Denver to defend the Colorado River.”
Hosted by Rights of Nature for the Colorado River
See you at the hearing!
We hope that you can join us for our next Community meeting on Wednesday, September 27th at 6:30 PM at the Shupes Homestead, 11931 N. 61st in Hygiene, CO.
1. Presentation: Nesting Bald Eagles in the COLO Front Range by Dana Bove
Dana Bove is studying the behavior of nesting Bald Eagles in Boulder and Weld Counties. Following a rewarding career as a research geologist at the USGS, Dana spends much of his time taking photographs and learning about nesting Bald Eagles. His stunning photography will be shown during the presentation. His stories of these nesting birds and discussion about their current conservation status and well-being will be shared. (1 hour)
2. Discussion Topic: Highway 66
Hwy 66 is statistically the most dangerous road in Boulder County. There have been 5 fatal accidents on Hwy 66 this year. There have been 21 fatal accidents county wide for the year, Hwy 66 has 25% of all our traffic deaths. Update on opposition to adding 240 gravel hauling gondola trucks a day on to Hwy 66. (15 minutes)
3. Discussion Topic: Open Pit Mining – a Flood Risk
During the flood of 2013, it was discovered that gravel mining operations had altered the natural floodplain function resulting in flooding in neighborhoods downstream in the City of Longmont. Update on how we oppose more gravel mining ponds in the floodplain. (5 minutes)
4. SOSVV Chairperson’s Status Report