Moffat County commissioners sign letter in support of Colowyo permit required for expansion at regular meeting |

Moffat County commissioners sign letter in support of Colowyo permit required for expansion at regular meeting

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck
The Moffat County Board of County Commissioners is set to discuss a proposed evaporation pond during a special meeting Tuesday, June 19.
Sasha Nelson/staff

CRAIG — The Moffat County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday signed a letter in support of issuing the Colowyo Mine a state air quality permit for the Collom expansion.

The permit is required to allow the Colowyo Mine to mine the Collom pit. The letter will be sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Craig City Council signed a similar letter at its Jan. 10 meeting.

After the letter was approved, Craig resident Dave Wallace asked how the county is working with Colowyo to ensure the permit application adequately complies with federal regulations. County Natural Resources Director Jeff Comstock said the county is now a cooperating agency, meaning the local government is participating in meetings and workshops with state and federal agencies involved in the permitting process.

The county began operating in this cooperating agency status during the WildEarth Guardians lawsuit. In the lawsuit, a federal judge determined that the Office of Surface Mining did not comply with federal regulations in approving mining plans for the Colowyo and Trapper mines. Comstock and the commissioners believe this status will prevent a similar situation

“Because of the scrutiny in that lawsuit and the issues that came up, we’re doing a lot better job now — all of us,” Commissioner Don Cook said. “We’re paying particular attention to what we need to do when issues like this come up.”

A public comment period on the air quality permit is open until Jan. 28, and comments may be submitted here.

Other items addressed in the meeting include the following.

• The board unanimously approved a lease allowing Memorial Regional Health to operate a clinic in the Dinosaur County Shop building once per week.

• The board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Moffat County Tourism Association clarifying supervision of the MCTA director. The director, a county employee, will operate under the day-to-day supervision of the MCTA. The Board of County Commissioners and County Human Resources Department will ensure the director acts in line with the county employee handbook.

• The board heard and approved a monthly report from the Department of Human Services.

• The board approved the consent agenda, including a renewed a lease for the MCTA office, a contract for county mental health services and the previous meeting’s minutes.

Contact Eleanor C. Hasenbeck at 970-875-1795 or or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.