Everyone seems to be holding their breath until the November 6 election. Plans for the 2019 General Assembly, both for legislators and interest groups, hinge on which party will control the State Senate and the Governor’s office, as well as which legislators will be available to sponsor various bills. Committee chairs are determined by the majority party, as are the number of seats held by the respective parties. For example, if the Democrats win control of the Senate then their members will hold the chairmanship and the majority of seats on the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee which hears all bills dealing with mining. Anti-mining bills which passed the House last year but were killed by the Republican controlled Senate committee could face a much brighter future depending on November 6. Recently, the interim Water Resources Review Committee saw a redraft of HB 18-1301 (last session’s ban of self-bonding for hardrock mines) withdrawn by its sponsor in the face of insufficient votes to move it forward, no doubt holding off for a more favorable outcome in January.
Some stakeholder groups inch forward—others on hold
CMA continues to meet with other industry representatives and the Air Pollution Control Division looking for measures to increase efficiency in the permitting process. Industry hopes that if such efficiencies can be identified and implemented, the recent fee increases will not need to be repeated for several years. Those increases, authorized by the legislature in 2018, are being adopted through Air Commission Regulation 3 at a hearing on October 18. A list of recommendations has been evaluated and ranked by the multiple industry organizations and will be compared against a similar evaluation conducted by the Air Division in a meeting set for November 5. In the meantime, the two groups continue discussions on a bi-weekly basis with follow-up calls among CMA members on the day following those meetings. For further information regarding the calls, contact the CMA office at (303) 575-9199 and check with Allison.
Stakeholder meetings to discuss the development of a TENORM regulation, on the other hand, have been placed on hold until completion of a contractor’s draft report. Several groups, including CMA, were concerned that decisions were being made too quickly for adequate stakeholder review and response and urged a revised meeting schedule. CDPHE responded by halting all currently scheduled meetings. There are many uncertainties in the information we have seen to date. While mining waste rock and soils are outside the purview of contemplated rules, it is unclear what other materials might fall within the scope requiring regulated disposal.