Glenwood Springs officials held a virtual forum Wednesday to inform the public of a new review timeline for Rocky Mountain Industrials' expansion proposal. The Bureau of Land Management announced last week it will delay starting the review process for the expansion until 2021.
The mining company is looking to expand its limestone mining operations at the Mid-Continent Quarry just outside of Glenwood Springs by 5,000%. The federal agency was expected to begin its environmental impact statement this spring, but pushed it to 2021 due to delays in four studies that must be completed first.
The Bureau of Land Management will conduct those advance studies, which will provide supplemental information for the environmental impact statement. Those studies include a hydrology study and mineral examination. According to the federal agency, those studies are taking more time than expected.
Glenwood Springs city manager Debra Figueroa said in the online forum that the decision to postpone the impact statement shows the federal agency is taking a thorough approach to the review process.
With the upcoming November presidential election, Glenwood Springs' attorney Karl Hanlon said a change in administration could affect the way the Bureau of Land Management reviews Rocky Mountain Industrials' proposed expansion.
"It is an active application so (the Bureau of Land Management) would have to continue to process it. I think it's the nature and the way that process turns out a new administration would have a huge impact on," Hanlon said.
The Trump Administration proposed rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. This law requires federal agencies to consider impacts of proposed projects, like the Rocky Mountain Industrials proposal, on the environment.
Glenwood Springs city manager Debra Figueroa ended the virtual forum by ensuring the public that regardless of the current pandemic, the city is still fighting the mining company's proposed expansion.
"We are still working together. We are still going to do everything in our power to protect our city from this existential threat," Figueroa said.