June 16, 2020
Ginny Brannon, Division Director, began the update by describing budget cuts the Division has experienced including those affecting the abandoned mine program and membership in the Interstate Mining Compact Commission.
Ginny stated the DRMS staff is returning to the office for work.
Stan Dempsey mentioned to DRMS the efforts by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment seeking introduction of a bill creating a Dredge and Fill bill. Stan also mentioned the TENORM rulemaking occurring at CDPHE and encouraged coordination with the two agencies.
Russ Means, Program Manager of the Hardrock minerals program stated the hardrock rulemaking has been slowed by the Division needing to other priorities and the need to further refine draft regulations enacting the water quality sections of legislation enacted in 2018.
Russ also described the future upcoming hearings of the Mined Land Reclamation Board. The Board has will meet using a hybrid model of employing video conferencing and in person attendance both by board members and parties to hearings.
CMA RULEMAKING DISCUSSIONS
Stan Dempsey described discussions between CMA and the CDPHE regarding TENORM, and distributed CMA’s comments on the first draft of the rules. CMA expressed support for an exclusion from the rule for waste rock ore, a concept the Department had mentioned early in the process.
Dianna Orf reported that the General Assembly adjourned sine die on Monday, June 15 after meeting several weeks following its postponement of the session beginning in March. Dianna described the following bills:
- House Bill 1420 which as introduced repealed the sales and use tax exemption for fuel and energy used in the mining and manufacturing process. The final version of House Bill 1420 did not repeal that exemption following strong testimony from CMA and other business colleagues.
- Senate Bill 204 raising air quality stationary source fees and creation of an enterprise to conduct air quality research and studies. CMA opposed the bill, but other organizations such as the Colorado Oil and Gas Association chose to compromise on the bill.
- Draft “Dredge and Fill” legislation requested by CDPHE. The Department sought introduction of legislation seeking to “fill the void left by the Trump WOTUS rule” by creating a permitting program for waters of the state the Department believes the new federal rule does not cover.
This legislation did not get introduced as multiple stakeholders objected, including the Colorado Water Congress who urged the Department to slow down. CMA members discussed the urgency of participating in both the Water Congress deliberations if they are members and engaging the Department specifically regarding mining issues.