Coal, Hardrock, and Uranium Committee meeting summary

DRMS Update

  • Department of Natural Resources is making several personnel changes including narrowing of the Assistant Director for Energy and Minerals.
  • Russ Means stated that the first scoping meeting to discuss the upcoming hardrock program rulemaking addressing temporary cessation and implementation of recently passed legislation.
  • Jim Stark reported that the Mined Land Reclamation Board will hold a hearing to adopt the revisions to coal program aligned with the federal coal program.
  • Jim Stark mentioned pending litigation brought by environmental groups challenging West Elk’s mine plan. DRMS is a co-operating agency in responding to the Court’s action.
  • DRMS will be engaging the Water Quality Control Division on issues related to stormwater and mining in a discussion about the current MOU.
  • Kathy Welt from West Elk updated the committee on the status of the renewal of its water quality discharge permit that contains permit conditions and requirements previously rejected by the Division. West Elk appealed it’s permit and a court date has been stayed until March 1.

Water Quality Update

  • Continued discussion of stormwater issues including drafting of a letter to WQCD Division Pat Pfaltzgraff encouraging resolution of duplicative and inconsistent application of requirements by two separate agencies.
  • WQCD Roadmap meeting – discussion occurred around voluntary actions and incentives to address nutrients.
  • The Committee discussed potential rulemaking changing Regulation 41 (groundwater). The committee wanted to get information as whether the proposed changes would affect the DRMS determinations of the point of compliance, an issue of interest to CMA members. As a follow-up, some members are examining that question and will report back in December.

Coal Hardrock and Uranium Committee

Legislative Interim Committees

Dianna Orf reported on the interim committee meetings of interest to mining including:

  • Bio-diesel mandate in Colorado, how does it affect mining operations.
  • CMA continues to solicit information from members about utilization of Enterprise Zone Credits for Manufacturing for the review to be conducted by the Colorado State Auditor.
  • Sales tax exemption for certain energy uses – CMA is assessing the impact of requiring meters be installed to measure energy used that is tax exempt.
  • Interest is high as state auditor reviews severance taxes as part of Tax Expenditure Review, Representative Hansen has asked for “performance audit”, not clear what that would result in.

Regulatory Issues

  • TENORM – As the CDPHE TENORM stakeholder process concludes, CMA will join other organizations in reviewing concepts presented by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Division and Radiation Control Division regarding potential regulation of TENORM. Steve Brown has identified potential problems with the Division’s assumptions that merit review and comment by industrial and local government stakeholders.
  • The Air Quality Control Commission met on November 21 with a briefing on implementing legislation passed in the 2019 session on the agenda. CMA will report on those topics at the December Coal, Hardrock and Uranium Committee as well as the CMA Board.
  • Samantha Anderson of Peabody mentioned various regulatory developments of PFAS (fire fighting foam), including the survey Colorado’s CDPHE is performing of fire departments and other facilities with firefighting capabilities. PFAS have been determined to enter groundwater, drinking supplies etc. CMA will continue to update our committees on this issue as we learn what other states, the EPA and the national mining industry are doing in response to concerns raised about PFAS. A link to the CDPHE webpage covering this topic can be found here: