As we celebrate the holidays this year, our celebration of mining’s patron saint, St. Barbara is more critical than ever. 2020 saw the outbreak around the world of a pandemic that has killed so many of our fellow citizens, changed the way we conduct business and affected our personal lives.
We all know St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners, blasters and firefighters. All “essential workers”! This year’s St. Barbara celebration took the form of a video greeting presented by our friend Dennis Gallagher. Members may remember Dennis’ presentation of the history of St. Barbara two years ago at our celebration.
Restrictions on social gatherings due to the COVID virus prevented us from holding the 2020 National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition in Grand Junction. We were pleased, however, that we were able to host our 2020 golf tournament by changing our format while providing a setting allowing members to get together in person.
We are working hard to present CMA’s 123rd National Western Mining Conference virtually along with the 2021 SME Annual Conference & Expo, a partnership valued by both organizations.
We appreciate members making the effort to actively participate in CMA meetings and events, as Colorado continues to be the epicenter of changing energy policy. Colorado’s Governor, legislature and regulators continue to forge ahead with their efforts to radically change Colorado’s energy profile and economy.
A special thanks to Dianna Orf and the members of her team representing CMA at the capitol and the support of CMA before regulatory agencies. Communicating with legislators and regulators changed radically and quickly. Video calls now fill our calendars; we now must limit most communication with legislators to phone and text messaging. I also thank our Government Affairs Committee members for their efforts in providing the views of the companies they represent, and their collaborative approach in helping CMA address the issues important to its members.
It is important that Colorado policy makers understand that mining is essential to making Colorado’s economy survive and thrive in an uncertain time. Essential workers like Colorado miners who earn a good salary and benefits are the backbone of Colorado’s economy, particularly rural economies. In 2021, we will continue to remind policy makers and the public that miners are “essential workers” whether a pandemic is occurring or not.
We hope you enjoyed this year’s St. Barbara’s Day message. Some celebrations are timeless, and in 2020 St. Barbara and her protection of the miner is a notion that we should honor this holiday season.
Finally, a note about the 2020 election. Perhaps the most disappointment for me was the defeat of Senator Cory Gardener in his bid for a second term. Electoral dynamics in Colorado perhaps made Senator Gardner’s re-election a difficult proposition at the very least; I still want to thank Senator Gardner on behalf of the entire mining industry for his service to Colorado and the nation. Senator Gardner worked tirelessly to advance “Good Samaritan” legislation encouraging the cleanup and restoration of legacy mine sites affected by water quality issues. Finally, Senator Gardner honored himself, his family and the people of Colorado by the manner he conceded his election loss, and we look forward to seeing him serving Colorado again in the future.