A Message from the President: March 2024

    March has been a busy month with increased activity at the State Capitol as more legislation impacting mining has been introduced and several high-profile pieces of legislation have been introduced and are scheduled to advance through the committee hearing process.

    Among those is the recently introduced HB 1379, introduced by Speaker Julie McCluskie with Senator Dylan Roberts serving as the Senate sponsor. This previously anticipated legislation, developed in coordination with the Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), builds on an earlier outline provided by the Speaker’s Office and includes measures that expand the proposed dredge and fill program beyond initial proposals to fill the gap left by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA, 566 U.S. 120 (2023), to now apply to all “state waters.” CMA provided detailed comments on the draft outline of the bill. At the same time, Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer’s previously introduced SB 127 is scheduled for a hearing later this month. CMA will continue to engage with the bill sponsors to advocate for the inclusion of provisions that support a strong mining industry in the dredge and fill program ultimately adopted. CMA is also engaging with legislators and allied industry organizations on several other bills related to air quality, species reintroduction, and the use of certain products in mining related equipment as well as legislative and regulatory efforts at the federal level that could result in the necessary withdrawal of uranium and vanadium deposits in Colorado.

    Late last month saw the much-needed end to the court manufactured moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a flawed Federal District Court holding which established the halt to the federal coal leasing program. The Circuit Court decision accurately reflects the law as advocated by the mining industry—specifically, that the Federal District Court could not compel a nationwide pause on federal coal leasing and an unnecessary programmatic environmental impact statement when the secretarial order that was the subject of the legal challenge had already been rescinded.

    CMA staff and members also participated in the National Mining Association’s Environment Committee meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, where representatives from mining companies, engineering firms, law firms, and other allied organizations convene to discuss current priority issues facing the industry and collaborate on strategies to address these challenges and establish priorities for Association in the coming year.

    Finally, CMA has opened registration for the National Western Mining Conference from June 17–19 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. Sponsorships for various events at the conference are available as well, so please remember to register early and consider sponsoring this annual opportunity to attend presentations on emerging issues in mining, engage with local elected officials, and network with colleagues throughout the industry. Register today!

    Adam Eckman
    President & CEO
    Colorado Mining Association