Martin Marietta Seeks to Silence SOSVV Community

It looks like MMM is motioning to silence opposition again. In today’s brief response, Mark Mathews, MMM’s attorney with Brownstein & Hyatt Farber LLP, states that “Martin Marietta respectfully requests that this Court deny Plaintiffs’ [SOSVV + individuals] Motion to Expedite Oral Argument” as requested by SOSVV’s attorney, Ireland & Stapleton.

Dated April 3, 2019.
BROWNSTEIN HY A TT FARBER SCHRECK, LLP
By: /s/ Mark J. Mathews Mark J. Mathews, #23749 Michael P. Smith, #48730 
Attorneys for Defendant Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.
“Because this is a straightforward C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4) case with no disputed facts, Martin Marietta submits that the case is properly decided on the briefing and administrative record. Allowing oral argument will only serve to increase the costs and delay associated with this case, which Martin Marietta has strived to resolve as expeditiously as possible. Because Martin Marietta believes oral argument is unnecessary, Martin Marietta therefore opposes oral argument.”

To clarify, the undisputed facts are that 1. there has been no mining activity for decades, as evidenced by annual DRMS reports submitted by the Operator(s), and 2. Special Use Permit 96-18 was for gravel mining– The Special Use was not for weed remediation, prairie dog control, and administrative filings as listed by MMM as activity under the permit.

Well at least Martin Marietta is consistent in their using the court’s time and tax payer money to stifle free speech: in 2018 MMM subpoenaed local environmental activists– fortunately the Court denied their subpoena. According to Denver 7, “Martin Marietta, a multi-billion-dollar company that supplies construction materials to oil & gas, slapped activists with subpoenas back in July [2018 and Marietta was] seeking every single communication among two groups that are central to organizing against them, East Boulder County United and Erie Protectors,” explained McNulty. “Basically, what they were looking for were documents, strategy, future protests, anything they could find that they could use to stifle free speech in the future.”

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SOSVV Community Member Jennifer Murnan’s Op-ed on Cemex and Lyons Board of Trustees Meeting

Monday February 4th, I attended the workshop the Lyons town board consented to having the Cemex Plant leadership present to them. No one in the packed hall was allowed to speak, or ask questions during the presentation.. A collective groan involuntarily erupted from the crowd when the plant manager announced the intent to seek a permit that would allow the plant to mine and operate for another 25 years. The community has had the understanding for years now that the mining operation would exhaust the resource it was extracting. By the end of this year, the strip mining would cease and Cemex would then proceed to fulfill it’s contractual obligation to reclaim the land.

There was an opportunity for public comment when the board of trustees reconvened for it’s regular meeting, however, the mayor refused to honor requests of community members in attendance to extend additional time to those who wished to speak. Instead, the mayor shut down the public comments when a woman refused to comply with the board’s 3 minute edict.

Controlling discourse and constituents trumps democratic discourse and attention to constituents concerns.

The town board of Lyons has no decision making power in determining whether Cemex will be granted 25 more years to profit from decimating the land and the health of the humans who live here.

The entire presentation by Cemex was an exercise in green-washing and “good neighbor” propaganda.

In the self professed corporately educated opinion and mined experience of the plant manager, it is in everyone’s best interests to continue mining Dow Flats.

Here is what I would have said, had I been allowed to speak:

My name is Jennifer Murnan and I live at 5125 Ute Hwy, Longmont on the occupied lands of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people. I have lived in the Lyons area for almost all of my life, living first on the North Saint Vrain in the canyon to the west of town as a child, and now on Highway 66 to the east. I have lived in the shadow and in the dust and noise and pollution and with the pain caused by this mining operation since childhood. I watched clouds of dust blow from the plant across the lake where my family canoed and swam. I remember how it stung my eyes. My youngest daughter developed asthma growing up directly across from the main plant entrance. My neighbor wore a dust masking when mowing to prevent breathing the dust that fell off the trucks. I wake up at 4:30 from the sound of cement trucks jake breaking. I cannot carry on a conversation in my front yard. Even at night, the noise is incessant. The plant’s lights pollute the night, and sometimes I yearn for a wall to shield me from the assault as the high beam breaks and enters through my front window. The conveyor belt tube blights the view of the mountains I love. I remember when the tube was first erected. I remember feeling the pain and shock of grotesque industrial infrastructure slamming into the familiar beloved vista of mountains majestic. I still cringe at the sight. It was suggested tonight by the Cemex plant manager (who has been here a whole year) that putting a “Welcome to Lyons” sign on that atrocity would be a possibility. How perverse, oblivious, degrading disgusting. 

Why didn’t I move away?

First, because my family made a decision to stand in the way. They fought the cement plant’s original construction when I was still a child. When the cement plant was looking for someone to sell out so they could put that conveyor belt over the road, my mother took everything the family had and purchased one of the prospective properties, saving it from this violation. Our tiny farm is now home for three generations of women in our family. One house over sold out to the corporation. The line of resistance was broken and the conveyor belt went ahead above ground rather than under the highway.

Second, there is no away from your family and this land and river are my kin. They do not stop being my kin, and the land my home, when they have been violated and abused. I will always stand by them, with them and defend them. The cement plant and strip mine have blighted existence on the land for going on a half century and over a quarter century respectively, and now you tell me as I approach 60 that this horror will never end?? That the land will never be supported in healing and that Cemex will see me into my grave?!

Has anyone asked the land, asked the original peoples of this land, what they want?

Here is what I want – Cemex – Keep your word, do what is possible to heal the land you have raped and get out.

Urgent Call to Action: Cemex To Present Industrial Intentions to Lyons Board of Trustees on February 4th at 5:30pm at Lyons Town Hall

URGENT AND TIME-SENSITIVE MESSAGE TO OUR Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Stakeholders,

CEMEX CEMENT COMPANY WILL BE PRESENTING ITS FUTURE COMMERCIAL INTENTIONS FOR ITS PLANT PROPERTY TO THE LYONS BOARD OF TRUSTEES ON FEBRUARY 4 AT THE LYONS TOWN HALL, 5:30-6:45 PM.

YOUR ATTENDANCE IS ESSENTIAL. WATCH THE VIDEO OF CEMEX IMPACTS.

THE ST. VRAIN RIVER VALLEY NOW FACES AN ONSLAUGHT OF COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS.

WHAT CEMEX WILL DO IN THE FUTURE IS SIGNIFICANT BUT IS ONLY A PORTION OF WHAT THE VALLEY JUST EAST OF LYONS MAY FACE.

THIS IS YOUR HOME!

COME…LEARN…BE AWARE…GET INFORMED…ACT

I realize the following is a lengthy email, but I think you will find its content appropriate and of importance.

1.) On December 13, 2018, three members of SOSVV met with two Cemex employees: Michael Clausen (CSR Specialist) and Scott Harcus (Environmental Manager). The purpose of this meeting was to ferret out information regarding Cemex’s status after 2021 when the company’s mining permit expires. Clausen and Harcus confirmed that mining will cease in the Dowe Flats quarry in 2021. The conveyor system and structures on the north side of Hwy 66 will be removed as a condition of the site reclamation plan.Following the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety’s approval of Cemex’s completed reclamation, 1,594 acres of this land will be added to Boulder County’s Open Space acquisitions.

2.) Clausen and Harcus further informed us that Cemex’s facility on the south side of Hwy 66 would remain “operational,” and that they were not at liberty to discuss what operations would take place. They directed us to attend a Lyons Board of Trustees meeting with the Cemex Plant Manager, Uwe Lubjuhn, who will be presenting Cemex’s plan to the Lyons Board of Trustees on February 4 at the Town Hall. They indicated Mr. Lubjkuhn would reveal Cemex’s future operational plans during this public meeting, at which time public questions and concerns would be addressed.

3.) On January 3, 2019, SOSVV notified the Boulder County Commissioners of the up-coming meeting and presentation to the Lyons Board of Trustees and requested the Commissioners to send a representative.

4.) Community members and SOSVV have stressed to the Boulder County Commissioners that the number of significant issues potentially and simultaneously facing the Valley in the near future may create a disastrous situation for the community. SOSVV requested the Commissioners to consider the cumulative impacts of future cement plant activities, proposed Martin Marietta mining activities, and an ill-conceived proposal by the Town of Lyons for residential and commercial development on both sides of Hwy 66 east of Hwy 36.

SOSVV has requested the County to assess and address the impact of these combined activities on the areas historic rural character, property values, health and safety issues, environmental impact, and quality of life. 

5.) On January 22, 2019, I spoke with Lyons town-clerk Deb Anthony who confirmed that there will be a Cemex workshop with the Board of Trustees on February 4, 5:30-6:45 PM. Ms. Anthony indicated that the public could attend and observe, but questions from the public would NOT be accepted by the Board. Any issue or concern with Cemex is not directly related to the town, and the Board is unwilling to accept public comment at the workshop. (On the other hand, Cemex reps encouraged us to attend the workshop and indicated that time would be allotted for public comments/questions.) There you have it. I don’t how this matter of public comment or no public comment will shake out.

Regardless, it is essential that you, as a stakeholder in the future of Lyons and the Valley, attend this workshop. Mark your calendar now: 5:30-6:45, February 4, Lyons Town Hall, 432 5th Ave.

Sincerely,

Richard Cargill
Board of Directors, SOSVV

PS To submit a question, send an email to members of the Board of Trustees at:

Connie Sullivan (csullivan@townoflyons.com), Barney Dreistadt (bdreistadt@townoflyons.com), Juli Waugh (jwaugh@townoflyons.com), Mike Karavas (mkaravas@townoflyons.com), Wendy Miller (wmiller@townoflyons.com), Mark Browning (mbrowning@townoflyons.com), Jocelyn Farrell (jfarrell@townoflyons.com)

PPS Immediately following CEMEX’s unveiling, BOT will have business meeting. Public comment is part of the protocol. Sign up and get your 4 minutes. If you have questions or comments re agenda items or CEMEX’s presentation, this is your opportunity to speak your truth– we want to hear from you and the BOT and CEMEX should too! 

Amanda Dumenigo, 
Board of Directors, SOSVV

Sign our petition

Do you live in Colorado? Do you oppose Martin Marietta’s proposed gravel mining operation in the St. Vrain Valley? Please sign our petition at Care2 Petitions!

“A proposed 640-acre open pit gravel mine on the St Vrain River west of Hygiene, CO was approved by Boulder County Land Use. The mining operation will have a direct & substantial adverse impact for decades on the surrounding ecosystem and its critical riparian wildlife corridor, as well as on St Vrain Valley residents and visitors (cyclists, hikers, birders, etc). We request that Martin Marietta Materials/Mining Co. forego mining under Special Use 96-18 & Lyons Pit Permit M-1974-015, and contribute its mineral holdings and land to Boulder County Parks & Open Space for protection and preservation forever.”

If you need a refresher on what’s at stake, have a look at SOSvv’s 2018 media kit, or browse the Background and Concerns sections of our website.

Message from SOSVV Chairperson

Thank you so much for your inquiry regarding SOSVV’s enrollment in Colorado Gives Day. Unfortunately, part of enrollment requirement is reporting at least one entire previous year of financials with $50,000 in annual revenue because SOSVV incorporated as a nonprofit 501 3C in 2017, and it was our first fiscal year, we could not meet this criteria for enrollment in 2018.

However, ALL donations made to SOSVV are tax deductible, and will ensure that SOSVV are able to participate in CO Gives Day 2019! Most significantly, donations support our legal efforts necessary to protect the St Vrain Valley from Martin Marietta’s deep-pit gravel mining based on dormant 20 year-old permit and outdated conditions.

We are proud to report that SOSVV saw tremendous growth and expansion in 2018; SOSVV was a grantee of Patagonia’s Environmental Grant, the international LUSH Foundation Charity Pot, and generous contributions from our neighborhood community members. We appreciate your interest and support as we ring in the new year and wrap-up a history in-the-making fiscal year. To make your tax deductible donation please visit www.sosvv.wordpress.com today!

Gratefully,

Amanda Dumenigo
Chairperson, SOSVV

Update from Amanda Dumenigo, SOSvv Chair

It was so inspiring to connect with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now & Maeve Conran, News Director KGNU at the KGNU 40th Anniversary celebration on September 15th. Thank you Don Lutter for sponsoring SOSVV’s seat at the table! Amy’s moving speech focused on Standing Rock– and we had the opportunity to talk with Amy about our own local struggle against extraction and conflicting with our community’s rights and rights of nature; our concerns for the St Vrain River and for the valuable archeology, including burial grounds and the westernmost plains’ pottery found in the project area.

I met Maeve Conran at the KGNU Boulder studio the following Monday morning. Tune in to Morning Magazine to hear about SOSVV’s next steps, archeology developments, and next Thursday’s Benefit Concert at Planet Bluegrass with Jayme Stone, RapidGrass. You can listen to the interview here.

Scroll down for details on the concert and breaking news on the District Court’s ruling against Martin Marietta Materials–another local victory for the “little” guy.

Hope to see you next Thursday evening.

Cheers,
Amanda Dumenigo
Chairperson, SOSVV

Save Our St. Vrain Valley Benefit Concert

Don’t miss this unforgettable Fall musical event, featuring the Summer 2018 festivals headliners and internationally acclaimed, award-winning acts: Jayme Stone, dubbed the “Yo-Yo Ma of the banjo,” bridges the traditions of folk, jazz, and chamber music & Rapidgrass, blending classical, gypsy, bluegrass, pop, swing, and other world rhythms. Both bands push the boundaries of conventional bluegrass through contemporary innovation.

Grammy Award winning Lakota singers, Doug Good Feather and Charlie Red Cloud will perform the opening and closing prayer songs–highlighting the valuable archeology and the existing Native American ceremonial land uses in and surrounding the proposed 640+ acres mining project in the pristine St Vrain Valley.

It’s sure to be an unforgettable evening of world-class music in one of the most beautiful, intimate music venues in Boulder County–Planet Bluegrass.

Doors open at 5:30 PM. Children 12 & under are free. Tickets are $45 (& tax deductible). Get yours NOW here

DENVER 7 NEWS reports Martin Marietta Material’s July 2018 subpoena was denied by District Court Judge as a blatant violation of First Amendment rights.

“Martin Marietta, a multi-billion-dollar company that supplies construction materials to oil and gas, slapped activists with subpoenas back in July…” immediately following Paula Oransky’s wrongful termination lawsuit against MMM in the Fall 2017. Ms Oransky was reportedly fired by MMM for speaking out at a community forum for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation’s new drilling operations, held five months after Anadarko’s explosion killed two members and injured other members of the Martinez family. MMM filled subpoenas for all communications with Ms Oransky and six citizens, including 2018 mid-term election County Commissioner candidate, Cliff Willmeng, an unwavering and vocal advocate of community rights & rights of nature. MMM asked that they turn over all communications related to 2017 demonstration against Anadarko– “Wether you’re for against oil & gas, this is a story about first amendment rights…if produced the records would have a chilling effect” says journalist, Jennifer Kovaleski. Attorney Andy McNutty notes that this is a David & Goliath story, where the ‘little guy’ won andthat “it sends a big message to big corporations trying to use litigation and power to silence critics”.

Paula Oransky’s lawsuit against MMM is pending. SOSVV is pending a District Court date for our legal suit against MMM and Land Use’s ruling on Special Use Mining Permit 96-18. Watch the Denver 7 News report.

Attempt by Colorado company to silence critics ends in big win for oil and gas activist

See more at THEDENVERCHANNEL.COM

Letter from Amanda Dumenigo to Eric Lane, Boulder County Parks and Open Space Director

Dear Mr Lane,

Please find attached a formal request from Oglala Lakota Chief, Marty Chase Alone. Your staff knows Mr Chase Alone as BCPOS has coordinated for Mr. Chase Alone to lead lodges on Cemex property. He has led monthly Ceremonial lodges directly across from Phase II of the project area since August 2017. Currently, Doug Good Feather  Sundance Chief, Lakota Spiritual Leader, also holds weekly ceremonies across from Phase II of the project area. (I hope you take 2 min. of your time to listen to Good Feather’s interview by Josh Fox on Rolling Stone Magazine, hyperlinked to his name previously). You should have received Mr Good Feather’s letter and my last email with his formal request (attached). The archeology in the project area pertaining to SU 96-18 has multiple sites that were recommended for further studies and registration with the National Registry of Historic Places, NRHP,  and as highlighted for you in my archeology letter, the burden responsibility is with land owners, BCPOS & Martin Marietta Materials, have neglected  to follow any of the recommendations made decades ago by the project Historians and Archeologist.

Please reply to this email with BCPOS’ and Martin Marietta Material’s current plans for adhering to or continuing to disregard the Historians and Archeologist’s recommendations for this project area, the formal requests made by recognized Lakota Chiefs, and SOSVV members (attached).

Also, please inform me of the status of your request to US Fish & Wildlife in your letter dated June 27, 2017 for a reevaluation of  the 2001 Biological Opinion (ES/GJ-6-CO-01-F-045)? Have you met with US Fish & Wildlife and has a new study been conducted or scheduled (when)?

In conclusion, “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” (Evaluation of Research Pg. 28).

The St Vrain Valley is still a sacred place for Native American ceremonies and it is is not a relic of the past. Hence, protecting the ancestral integrity and archeological history in this valley is of timely and critical concern of utmost significance.

Sincerely,
Amanda Dumenigo, Chairperson, SOSVV

An open letter from community member Carol Plain

Oil and gas usually take center stage when it comes to battles over mining in the West, but gravel has become the new enemy in Colorado’s St. Vrain Valley. Martin Marietta Materials, a company with operations throughout the U.S. and Canada, is planning to mine for gravel in Hygiene between Lyons and Longmont. The proposed operation would cause massive increases in water contamination, air pollution, noise pollution, light pollution and traffic (trucks and trains). The air and noise pollution from this mine would be devastating.
Boulder County includes parts of Rocky Mountain National Park, which set an attendance record with 4.5 million visitors in 2016. And last year’s visitation number spiked an 8.68 percent increase over the previous annual record set in 2015, itself a 32 percent increase over 2014, and a 40 percent increase since 2012. The current permit allows for one truck every three minutes and three trains a day. Traffic to the park will be significantly impacted, as will the air quality and the pastoral views. The experience of heading into the mountains will become vastly more industrial, potentially discouraging visitors.
There’s also worry about dangerous crystalline silica dust. The St. Vrain Valley can be extremely windy, which makes it impossible to control fugitive dust events and airborne toxins from a mining operation which will in turn poison local wildlife and residents.
Flooding in the St. Vrain Valley is a natural phenomenon that has been occurring for tens of thousands of years.
I witnessed the flood of 2013. I heard the roar of the river and watched it destroy ponds that were left from old mining operations in the area. Near 61st and Hygiene Road, the river jumped its track, destroying more mining ponds, and it swept that water east with great force. When the water breached the mining ponds at Pella Crossing, there was a massive swell of water and debris crashing into unsuspecting neighborhoods in Longmont.
The 2014 St.Vrain Creek Watershed Master Plan states, “During the flood, large split flow paths cascaded through the reclaimed gravel mining ponds. One split channel resulted in flooding outside of the 100-year floodplain and affected neighborhoods downstream in the City of Longmont. Although the adjacent floodplain has been historically connected to the channel, sand and gravel mining operations have altered the natural floodplain function for a majority of this reach.
If you go to Pella Crossing, 61st or Hygiene Road, you can see how the power of the floodwater blew out the mining ponds, adding to the catastrophe. The devastation is evidence of the knowledge that mining ponds should not be on a floodplain.
But, Martin Marietta Materials intends to mine between Hygiene Road and Colo. 66. Mining will leave behind even more mining ponds. Shouldn’t the valley’s floodplain be left alone? The valley is appropriate for open space, recreation and agriculture, but more mining will devastate the area- leaving wildlife and residents without clean drinkable water and poison in the air for many years to come.
Martin Marietta Materials’ intention to mine more than 400 acres in the St. Vrain floodplain.
Proposed gravel mining operations by Martin Marietta in the St. Vrain Valley between Lyons and Hygiene have serious groundwater ramifications for the residents of the valley.
35-acre parcels of land may be open-pit mined for aggregate in the special-use permit mining area between Hygiene Road and Colorado 66. Approximately 20 percent of the valley will be converted from forage land to gravel-pit mining operations. During the 10-year mining operation (there are 10 years left on the 30-year 1998 special-use permit) the groundwater will be drawn down around the mining pits in order to provide for dry-pit mining. Surface mines of 30 acres will necessitate massive dewatering around the pits to allow for heavy equipment to remove the gravel in a dry environment.
The mining pits may be as deep as 30 feet, which will mean that the water table in the area of the pits will have to be lowered more than 30 feet. Since the proposed mining operation is within the St. Vrain aquifer, groundwater will have to be pumped from the aquifer and diverted around the mining pits with the area of influence of the dewatering drawdown greatly exceeding the surface area of the gravel pits. Many of the residents and agricultural operations in the St. Vrain Valley depend on the aquifer for potable water for their homes, garden irrigation, agriculture, and stock watering.
During the possible 10-year mining operations, the residents of the St. Vrain Valley will have to seek other sources of potable water for their homes, gardens, agriculture, and livestock. When Lafarge was mining gravel in the valley several years ago, artesian springs dried up as well as shallow wells. Options for providing potable water to those affected by the water drawdown during previous gravel-mining operations included trucked-in water, a pipeline to Longmont to access city of Longmont water, or deep wells.
Trucked-in water requires that each homeowner has to have adequate water storage facilities to contain several days’ water use. A pipeline to Longmont will require homeowners to purchase Longmont city water at ever-increasing rates where now they pay only for the electricity for their well pumps. Deep wells miss the sweet water of the St. Vrain aquifer and the water requires substantial treatment before it can be used as potable household water. Irrigation with deep-well water is not advised as per water sample analysis by Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Deep-well water approaches the maximum limit of dissolved solids allowed for livestock water.
Please help bring this issue to light and help us stop this mine from killing the local wildlife, residents and environment.

Best Regards,
Carol Plain

BOA Hearing Update

From SOSvv Chair Amanda Dumenigo:
The Board of Adjustment, BOA, did not overturn Land Use’s lapse in judgment regarding SU Permit 96-18. They failed to uphold the Five-Year Lapse Provision–ironically, yesterday was literally the 22 year anniversary to the day of Boulder County Commissioners’ first meeting to promulgate the five-year lapse provision stipulation in the Land Use Code. IT HAS NEVER BEEN UPHELD! We persuaded 3 of the 5 judges to agree to overturn the Director’s decision. Unfortunately, Boulder County Board of Adjustment has higher criteria than the US Supreme Court, and it is not majority rule. We won the popular vote not the electoral. Perhaps you’ve seen this before? We lost the battle, but we will win the war. The system is rigged and we will help fix it. We need your support more than ever. Please donate to our legal fund

Thank you to all the brave folks who showed up and stood by us! The room was packed! The public comment was powerful. 3 of the 5 judges vehemently advocated for truth, logic, and the community. Eric Moutz & Kari Stoltzfus: Thank you not only for having the courage to stand up for the law and the truth, but for all the valid points that you brought up.
 
Amanda Dumenigo, SOSvv, Chairperson

Tomorrow! Your attendance is vital at the Board of Adjustment Hearing – Weds, July 25th, 4 pm

via Richard Cargill, SOSvv Chair, Board of Directors:

Board of Adjustment Hearing – Weds, July 25th, 4 pm Commissioners Hearing Room, Boulder County Courthouse (Pearl St Mall)

Re: Save Our Saint Vrain Valley’s (SOSvv) appeal to Bldr Cnty Land Use Director Dale Case’s determination that the Special Use 96-18 mining permit from 1997 now held by Martin Marietta Materials (MMM) has not lapsed. The Board of Adjustment is a group of appointed volunteers with decision-making power in this appeal.

Agenda:
• 5 min presentation by Dale Case
• 15 min presentation by SOSvv’s attorney
• 15 min ” by MMM
• Public Comment period. Sign up at the beg. of the meeting – 3 mins/person. You can sign-up but give your time (pool it) to someone else instead of speaking when your time comes.
• 5 mins more for Dale Case
• 5 mins for rebuttal/response from MMM
• 10 mins for SOSvv rebuttal/response, final comments

Your presence at the meeting says a lot even if you choose not to speak. If you do speak, SOSvv’s attorney’s recommendation is that you speak from personal experience as a resident, be respectful & professional.

Fact Sheet

The original gravel mining permit was approved in 1997 with certain conditions, including that site plan & landscaping be approved by Bldr County Commissioners before operations begin. They accomplished this on Jan 3, 2017 in 10 minutes with no questions raised (you can view it online.)

At the meeting, one slide showing a b&w sketch of the site plan was shown. Very brief discussion touched on building heights and lighting. MMM had asked for lighting to be mounted higher (25’) than required (12’) and to be left on 24/7 for 10 years. MMM accepted that lights be on from dawn to dusk instead, noted by commissioner Deb Gardner as “a good compromise.”

There was no discussion re impacts of the operation on the surrounding community, environment, or any discussion of the Lapse Provision & changed conditions since 1997.

The Lapse Provision states that any Special Use permit will lapse if there is no activity at the site for 5 years. Dale Case determined that the permit had not lapsed because MMM stated they had removed weeds and done some “prairie dog control” at the site. MMM has not provided concrete evidence of these activities. Much rests with the interpretation of “activity” as it relates to the mining permit. Does removing weeds count as “activity” for a mining permit?

• Soon after the 1/3/17 meeting, a Hygiene resident noticed a short piece on approval of the site plan for the mining operation published in the local newspaper. Community concern spread quickly. Residents came together to form SOSvv and eventually hired an attorney experienced in these matters, financed solely by contributions from community residents. He will make a detailed presentation at the BOA hearing which will be enlightening for all. He recently won a similar case for Weld County residents fighting a MMM aggregate processing operation. Unfortunately, it was overturned on a technicality when MMM appealed & Weld County officials did not stand up for the community.

If you are a local resident who has biked, walked, or regularly driven by the 800+ acre site for years (bordered by Hygiene Rd, Hwy 66 & Hwy 36) it may prove important for you to tell BOA if you have never seen any signs of activity in the area. Likewise, if you’ve been a St. Vrain Valley resident for the past 10-30 years, it may be esp. important for you to tell from personal experience the changes you’ve seen in the area including: growth, traffic danger, 2013 flood damage, increase in small farms, cyclists & cycling events that bring revenue to the County, etc. One contention is that the area has remained unchanged since the original permit was issued in 1997 (i.e., no need to take into consideration any changes as the permit conditions require)

• This hearing is crucially important to show up for. Yes, decisions can sometimes be appealed, but it will be a whole lot less expensive to win this now, by convincing the local powers-that-be that the permit has lapsed, in order to protect the St. Vrain Valley.

Also Worth Noting…
In 2001 the North Boulder County Environmental Health Task Force rec’d the highest possible honor for county govt from NACo, the National Association of Counties, when it was recognized for its cooperative community effort with citizens to make the region around Lyons & the St. Vrain River cleaner and healthier. The effort focused on emissions from the Lyons Cement plant & was driven by the citizen group, St. Vrain Watchdogs. Land Use had determined that Cemex’s Special use permit hadn’t lapsed and they wanted to burn millions of waste tires at the site. Fortunately, this never happened due to citizen vigilance/efforts & eventual cooperation with the county.