Colorado Air Pollution – Gold and Fossil Fuel Mining

Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine

Newmont Mining Corporation’s Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine

Photo: James St. John | Flickr

Newmont Mining Corporation’s Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine is the last remaining gold mine in Colorado. Leadership at CDPHE ordered whistleblowing air modelers to falsify emissions data from Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine, as modeling would show that the mine could not comply with National Ambient Air Quality Standards for NO2. The former Director of the Air Pollution Control Division at CDPHE Garry Kaufman—who previously represented Newmont in litigation—also repeatedly signed off on exemptions for the gold mine, allowing the company to violate applicable air quality standards. On May 7, 2021, the CDPHE Air Division whistleblowers filed a request that the state Attorney General’s office expand their investigation of the department to account for the data falsification and subsequent approval of substandard pollution monitoring for the mine. 

While the Cripple Creek & Victor permit is the most egregious example of mine permitting wrongdoing, other mines and industrial facilities have been awarded permits from CDPHE despite modeled violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards: 

  • Williams Willow Creek Gas Plant in Rio Blanco County – issued with modeled violations of SO2 NAAQS
  • ColoWyo Coal Mine in Moffat and Rio Blanco Counties – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS
  • Asphalt Specialties Central Plant in Weld County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS and suspected violations of PM10 and PM2.5 NAAQS
  • Martin Marietta Monaghan Facility in Adams County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS
  • Aggregate Industries Oxford Asphalt Plant in Arapahoe County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS
  • Bighorn Pad in Jackson County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS
  • Martin Marietta Materials Highway 34 Facility in Weld County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS
  • JBS Swift Beef Company in Weld County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS
  • McCormick Asphalt Plant in Yuma County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 and SO2 NAAQS
  • Asphalt Specialties Co., Inc. /62nd Ave. Asphalt Plant in Adams County – issued with modeled violations of NO2 NAAQS and high potential for violations of PM10 and PM2.5 NAAQS

Further, several conservation groups filed a lawsuit in December 2019 against Arch Coal for failing to reduce methane and volatile organic compound emissions to Clean Air Act-compliant levels at its West Elk mine in Gunnison County. 

 


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