Moffat County Commission recap for June 9 | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County Commission recap for June 9

Patrick Kelly

Moffat County Commissioners John Kinkaid, Frank Moe and Chuck Grobe discuss county business at their weekly meeting on Tuesday.

At Tuesday morning's Moffat County Commissioner's meeting, the commissioner's discussed a letter to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement with Jeff Comstock, director of Moffat County Natural Resources Department.

The letter will be part of Moffat County's participation in OSMRE's scoping process for the environmental analysis of Colowyo mine. All comments for the scoping period are due by Monday.

Comstock presented specific topics that he wanted to address in the letter and discussed them with the commissioners as well as the audience.

Social economics is the first area he wants to address in his letter, Comstock said.

"Making sure OSM adequately accounted for what the impact would be," he said.

Next, the letter would address some of the county's problems with the environmental assessment process itself, mainly the 120-day time frame in which it must be completed.

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"The time frame is unprecedented when it comes to completing (environmental analyses) and that, as local government, concerns us," Comstock told the commissioners.

Comstock said he would also clarify how Craig Station and Colowyo mine are different entities and any environmental analysis regarding one shouldn't affect the other.

"The concept for a judge to force a mine that's independent to somehow have influence over the emissions of the power plant I think is a flawed argument," he said.

Lastly, Comstock told the commissioners the letter would explain that OSMRE is required assess emissions at the power plant, but has no enforcement capability.

"Emissions are an (Environmental Protection Agency) and (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) authority, they're the ones that can regulate power plants," he explained.

The commissioners moved, 3-0, to approve the letter concept and will review it before it is submitted on Monday.

Wednesday, OSMRE will host a public participation meeting from 4 to 8 p.m. under the Moffat County Fairgrounds grandstands. The meeting is part of the scoping period in the 120-day analysis process. The meeting is open to the public.

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

Also at County Commission:

Jennifer Riley, chief of marketing and business development at The Memorial Hospital, gave an update on the hospital.

Riley said Yampa Valley Medical Center has purchased the vacant Safeway building at 1295 Victory Way from Craig City Councilor Kent Nielson.

YVMC plans to build a new medical facility at the location.

Moffat County Commission Chairman John Kinkaid said concerns that this facility will take business and money out of Moffat County were discussed.

“They’d see patients here and then they’d refer the patients for follow-up work in Steamboat at the hospital there,” he said.

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