News from Arkansas, Colorado
- Washington County, Ark.’s justices of the peace overturned the county Planning Board’s denial of a permit for an expansion of a quarry operation west of Fayetteville, Ark., according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. An overflow crowd of area residents opposed to the quarry filled the seats and lined the walls of the meeting room as the Quorum Court voted 10-2, with two abstentions, on the appeal of the Planning Board’s decision on the conditional use permit sought by the Farmington Quarry operation.
- According to the Greeley Tribune, Colorado mountain residents got so frustrated by the gold and gravel mining churning through wetlands along headwaters of the South Platte River that they took oversight into their own hands. And, after a seven-year fight that led to federal court, they recently prevailed. They won a ruling that tilts the nation’s legal landscape in favor of controlling water pollution. This U.S. District Court ruling in Denver last month declares miners must go through a public process and obtain permits before discharging pollutants into waste ponds located near waterways. It is the first federal court case to apply a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision that seepage from industrial waste ponds into alluvial groundwater can be “the functional equivalent” of surface discharges directly into rivers. The federal Clean Water Act prohibits pollution without permits that specify contaminants and become increasingly restrictive.
- The long-discussed plan to expand a 284-acre Martin Marietta aggregate quarry along U.S. 40 in south Golden, Colo., is finally coming to fruition, according to the Golden Transcript. The Jefferson Board of County Commissioners approved rezoning 64 open space acres south of the current site to allow mining on 48 acres. This is part of a land swap with Jeffco Open Space. Now that Martin Marietta Materials has the county’s approval, the next step is the city’s. On Oct. 5, the Golden Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend the City Council approve an amendment to the quarry’s development plan to expand mining operations. Based on residents’ comments, the planning commission also recommended a condition that Martin Marietta develop appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms regarding truck cleanliness and road users’ safety along U.S. 40.