Happy New Year!
We hope that you had a wonderful Christmas season, and your year is off to a good start. For CMA, the year starts off quickly as we host our Legislative Reception Thursday, January 12 at 5:30 P.M. at the Brown Palace Hotel. Perhaps our most important event of the year in terms of our legislative program, the reception provides a relaxed atmosphere for members to meet members of the General Assembly.
We are also excited to present KC Becker, EPA Regional Administrator for Region 8 who also served as the former House Speaker in Colorado. This special presentation will occur on Tuesday, January 17 at 10:30 AM during the CMA Coal, Hardrock and Uranium Committee meeting. This is an excellent opportunity to hear EPA’s perspectives on the agency’s new policy initiatives started as a part of the Biden administration as well as EPA’s review and focus on Colorado’s administration of environmental laws.
Perhaps the most consequential legislative issue we already know will command attention of CMA members is the effort by the Colorado Water Quality Control Division to convince the Joint Budget Committee to add an additional 40 FTE to address a “permit backlog.” The Division claims EPA has set “new standards” for the renewal of water quality discharge permits, a claim that should be viewed skeptically, particularly as the Water Quality Control Division makes permitting more difficult for permittees.
Though funding for some permitting activities has recently been funded by Colorado’s General fund, those expenditure are likely to be “refinanced” using fees paid by permittees, we were informed three days prior to Christmas the Division is likely to push for another piece of legislation raising existing fees by 8% and pushing to have the legislature turn over authority it possesses to set fees to the Water Quality Control Commission.
This is an example of the complexity addressing issues in a legislature with very few critics of the Department. Not only will are most Democrats enthusiastic to grow environmental programs, especially those covering climate change topics, Republicans have very little experience in scrutinizing programs in state government.
Thus, the reason we hope members will introduce themselves to legislators, communicate your specific issues through CMA as well to legislators directly. If you have the opportunity to invite state legislators to visit your business, do it! Legislators are eager to learn about your business and our industry, and most want to make decisions based on facts and understanding how proposed laws will affect businesses in their district.
Finally, be sure to register for MINExchange 2023, the SME Annual Conference & Expo and CMA 125th National Western Mining Conference, February 26 through March 1. The deadline for early registration is January 19. We have an exciting program to present and look forward to presenting our CMA and DRMS awards.