Coal, Hardrock, and Uranium Committee meeting summary

May 18, 2021

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. DRMS Update:
  • Ginny Brannon—Not a lot to report.
  • Russ Means—Update on rulemaking, updated website. Had a large application (construction materials) before the MLRB taking a lot of time, delaying issuance of final draft of hardrock rulemaking proposal. Would like to have more informal stakeholder meetings. Planning on June 1.
  • Ginny reported on status of DNR and state employees reporting back in-person to office. No announcement.
  • Questions about completion of 2021 legislation session, lots of sausage making going on at end of the session.
  • Stan thanked Ginny for sharing information about fraudulent unemployment claims.
  • Clarification of rulemaking schedule, when would formal process start? August or September—get it in front of Board, cautious about introducing two new Board members to a rulemaking. Perhaps send proposal to Secretary of State in July, with an August or September hearing.
  • Everyone waiting for appointments to MLRB
  • Coal Mine Board of Examiners—Nick Armando, Peabody appointed and confirmed by Senate.
  1. Discussion of Hardrock Rulemaking—Miguel checked comments filed by groups, consistent with previous comments. Particularly “definition of production” for temporary cessation. Comments of water quality provision. Good to reinitiate informal process to review and determine if we have consensus on CMA comments. (Check with Brianna to see if her comments got to Miguel)
  2. Rich informed the Committee about the Crestone Peak v. Boulder County oil and gas litigation (Colorado Court of Appeals) mentioning marketing of minerals. Went into a lot of detail about definition of production. Also mentioned the construction materials application denied by the MLRB.
  3. Discussion of potential MLRB Board members.
  4. Legislative Report:
  • Dredge and Fill—Dianna provided an update regarding a draft permitting as well as a potential “appropriation” bill containing enforcement provisions. Dianna reviewed criticisms of the new draft, and noted the Biden Administration will likely alter the Trump rule in the next year or so.
  • A long list of issues exists for legislators to deal with in a short amount of time. Will Dredge and Fill fit within that list?
  • Dianna discussed the urgency in which the agency is seeking legislation.
  • Jim Sanderson provided a list of questions and criticisms of the new draft.
  • Dianna described legislative efforts to repeal coal severance tax credits and exemptions in House Bill 1312. CMA is hoping to have the issue discussed in a severance tax committee that potentially may meet this summer.
  • Senate Bill 200—A climate change bill opposed by Governor Polis
  • Several other bills contain provisions addressing “disproportionate impacted communities” are being debated.
  • Senate Bill 176—CMA successfully ensured drug testing could continue in employment situations.
  1. Regulatory Issues
  • TENORM update, are there guidance meetings? Rule can be impactful for different projects on various materials disposed offsite. Can get expensive very fast depending on levels of TENORM. Hard to get requirements and analytical methods. In a transition period as landfills move to meet new requirements.
  • CMA asks other operators to provide feedback. Is there an opportunity to visit with Division on implementation issues? Perhaps have Hazardous Materials Division provide an update.
  • PFAS—New CDPHE reporting deadline.
  • Air Quality Enterprise—June 1 rulemaking adopting fees. Discussed whether to participate in rulemaking, decided to refrain.
  • Howard Gephardt updated the committees on the current investigation of air quality modelers at CDPHE. The Attorney General has sent an RFP soliciting law firms to review the allegation and Colorado’s air quality statute.