A Late Summer Drive to See Friends

As the seasons change and the fall colors come into view, it’s the perfect time to get out and see the beauty of Colorado and the west. I’m looking forward to a late summer drive across Colorado, to Utah and Nevada to attend events and enjoy seeing many of our friends and supporters, something not possible for the last year-and-a-half.

Club 20’s Fall Conference in Grand Junction will be my first stop. The Friday evening steak fry is a well-known venue for elected officials and those running for office to solicit support. Maybe more importantly, it’s also an opportunity to catch up with our colleagues from other industry and local government organizations we work with on a frequent basis to address issues we all have interests in.

We’re especially gratified to have formed a small workgroup of members and representatives of local governments to discuss on a frequent basis the State of Colorado’s effort to create a “Dredge and Fill” permitting program in the Colorado Water Quality Control Division. The State objected to President Trump’s revisions to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which the state believed created “gap waters” in which waters in Colorado not covered by the revised federal rule would be “unprotected.”

As we have covered this issue in previous editions, Colorado regulators sought legislation creating a state permitting program the last two legislative sessions. CMA’s lobbyist, Dianna Orf and other CMA company representatives have worked closely with affected local government and water districts who share our objections to creating a new program without appropriate sideboards defining the Division’s authority to regulate.

EPA recently announced its intention to rescind the Trump rule and write a new rule it calls “durable”, an effort strengthened by a decision announced August 30 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona halting implementation of the Trump rule. Ironically, this decision is viewed positively by Colorado entities, as it apparently has convinced the State of Colorado to cease securing legislation to create a Colorado program. Like any regulated entity, we’re sorry to see the Trump rule abandoned by EPA and the Courts, yet we’re relieved Colorado will not undertake its own effort to regulate navigable waters.

Though we like to think of Colorado as the most beautiful state in the U.S. with our rich mining history, we value our relationship with the National Mining Association and its members. It’s gratifying to be able to head to Las Vegas to participate in MINExpo and catch up with colleagues. Later this month, CMA’s Water Quality Committee will be briefed on national water quality issues by Caitlin McHale of NMA on Tuesday September 28.

I’m also excited to drop by Energy Fuels Open House of its White Mesa Mill on the way back from Las Vegas.

Finally, we are saddened to learn that CMA Board Member Gerey Dillinger passed away last month. Gerey worked for Liebherr and was a great resource to CMA and staff. Gerey’s obituary can be found here.