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Owners of hot spring attractions worry quarry expansion near Glenwood Springs could damage spring

Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-17 19:38:42-05

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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — There's a growing concern in Glenwood Springs that a possible expansion of a nearby quarry could affect the town's spring.

The Mid-Continent Limestone Quarry sits about a mile outside of the city. Rocky Mountain Resources bought the quarry in 2016 and wants to expand it from 23 acres to more than 300 acres.

The Bureau of Land Management is reviewing the proposed expansion.

"It's 500 trucks per day," said Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes. "And every 48 seconds, a truck is going to be coming through town and loading up on a train. Now we know what we're fighting, and it's really beyond our worst nightmares."

RMR said in a statement that the mine "is poised to become one of the most important quarries benefitting the people of Western Colorado."

But people living in the area and business owners, like the CEO of Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and Lodge Kjell Mitchell, are concerned about the impact.

"The water from the flat tops area acts as a recharge for our source spring," explained Mitchell. "We are concerned that any disruption of that flow could damage or harm the aquifer and ultimately our business."

But RMR says, "many Glenwood Springs' employers are unable or unwilling to provide their employees adequate wages to afford the town's high cost of living."

The company said the proposed expansion would bring 100 new jobs to the area.

"The notion that RMR is going to add jobs to the economy and that's going to be one of the benefits is kind of a joke," said Mitchell.

The following is the full statement to Denver7 News from Rocky Mountain Resources:

Rocky Mountain Resources (“RMR”) is the most intentional, thoughtful and focused owner and operator of the Mid-Continent limestone quarry in decades.

The Mid-Continent Limestone Quarry is a source of an uncommon and locatable mineral. Due to its high purity and our strategic positioning, the asset is poised to become one of the most important quarry’s benefitting the people of Western Colorado.

We are proud to have the ability to produce chemical grade limestone products capable of providing a wide range of beneficial uses for society. These include food manufacturing additives, flue gas desulphurization, acid mine drainage remediation, wastewater treatment, and soil conditioning and stabilization. Limestone products often are the key ingredient or sole product enabling the cleanup of spills or removal of dangerous chemicals from the environment.

In 2016, we acquired the quarry and immediately began making improvements. Under prior regimes, Mid Con was operationally and financially neglected. Prior ownerships inattention was equally noticeable with their lack of local community engagement. We discovered after the acquisition, prior ownership operated with inconsistencies and RMR immediately began self-reporting them to requisite agencies. We have taken a collaborative approach toward long term solutions. RMR’s intentional efforts has created a professional environment with high standards of safety and environmental responsibility. We believe the quarry, under RMR’s ownership, is now one of the safest and most thoughtful operations in the region.

Currently, many Glenwood Springs’ employers are unable or unwilling to provide their employees adequate wages to afford the town’s high cost of living, including affordable housing for teachers and developing professionals. RMR believes a community should embrace opportunities to improve the lives of its constituents, not just those who can afford to influence local politics. In combination with RMR’s investment plan, Mid-Con will employ 100 professionals, making it one of the larger employers in Garfield County. In a locale lacking economic diversity, RMR represents a healthy commercial alternative, and is developing plans with prospective commercial owners in Glenwood to work in concert with tourism. Our investment will drive local commerce to the benefit of all surrounding communities and provide the entire State of Colorado continued infrastructure support.

Gary Brode
Multimedia Journalist

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