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The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday voted 2-to-1 to deny CEMEX’s application to continue mining at the Dowe Flats Quarry for 15 years. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday voted 2-to-1 to deny CEMEX’s application to continue mining at the Dowe Flats Quarry for 15 years. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
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The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday denied CEMEX’s controversial application to continue mining at the Dowe Flats Quarry east of Lyons for 15 more years.

The vote was 2 to 1 with Commissioners Claire Levy and Marta Loachamin voting against CEMEX’s proposal and Commissioner Matt Jones supporting it.

“It’s causing a lot of dust; it’s causing a lot of noise; it’s causing a lot of truck traffic; it’s disturbing wildlife in the area,” Levy said about CEMEX’s mining operation during Thursday’s Board of County Commissioners’ meeting. “Fifteen additional years of mining involves significant land use impacts when compared with the scenario of reclamation starting now.”

In 1994, the Board of County Commissioners authorized CEMEX to conduct mining activities at the Dowe Flats Quarry just north of Colo. 66 for a maximum 25-year period.

The agreement has allowed the company to extract roughly 760,000 tons of materials each year to then transport to its cement plant just south of the highway.

That permit will now expire on Sept 30.

As part of its proposal, CEMEX had agreed to shutter its cement plant at the same time its mining operation would have concluded in 2037.

Throughout the application process, staff maintained that CEMEX could continue to operate its cement plant indefinitely, even after its original 25-year mining permit expired.

During Thursday’s meeting, CEMEX USA Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning Trpimir Renić said that after listening to public feedback, the company had reduced its 15-year mining extension request down to 12 years, at which time it would still close its cement plant.

For Jones, the assurance that CEMEX would shut down its cement plant in exchange for the ability to continue mining was too good of a deal to pass up.

“I do not want that plant to operate for more than 12 years,” Jones said. “I do not want the air pollution to continue more than 12 years and this is the only guarantee I have … to vote for this proposal.”

The Commissioners listened to several hours of public testimony, largely from people who opposed CEMEX’s application, on Sept. 14 but postponed making a decision until Thursday.

Several residents pointed out how the greenhouse gas emissions caused by CEMEX’s mining operation were not in line with Boulder County’s ambitious climate goals.

Local citizen groups such as Good Neighbors of Lyons started a petition opposing the company’s mining extension application, which garnered more than 1,200 signatures.

The Boulder County Planning Commission also unanimously recommended denial of CEMEX’s application earlier this month.

A CEMEX representative previously told the Planning Commission the quarry had about 10 employees, with two living in Boulder County.

A global building materials company, CEMEX operates 10 cement plants and about 50 cement terminals across its U.S. network that extends to Boulder County.

The company has maintained that it will continue to operate its cement plant even as its mining operation comes to an end.

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