The Board of County Commissioners on Monday, May 6, approved a letter in support of Bowie Resources LLC.
The letter, sent to Colorado Department of Natural Resources executive director Mike King, is an endorsement of Bowie's request for royalty reduction.
"Bowie has communicated to us the basis for their request and presented compelling reasoning and need for a royalty reduction," the commissioners' letter states. "Similar to the reduction recently granted to the neighboring West Elk Mine in Gunnison County, Bowie Mine has encountered adverse geological conditions and historic challenges in the coal market."
The commissioners' statement goes on to say, "Bowie is a valuable economic partner to the federal government, the State of Colorado, as well as to Delta County. As such, we believe this relationship is worthy preserving and can only continue if the federal and state governments invest in it by granting the royalty reduction."
The letter does not state specifics of the royalty reduction request. The royalties are paid on coal that is exported. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources 2012-13 Strategic Plan shows $43 million in total minerals royalty income to the state for 2010-11.
Coal industry royalty payments are currently under review by the Department of the Interior. The industry says it pays its fair share in royalties. Environmental groups have long complained about pollution from low-grade coal burning in Chinese and Asian power plants. Now that the industry has found profitable new market s overseas for clean-burning American coal, some want to see more payments going to government.
Bowie Resources is the only one of the three North Fork mines located within Delta County.
In other business at their May 6 meeting, the BoCC dealt with the following matters:
• Commissioners approved two contracts for programs administered by the county Health Department. One is a $29,608 contract for women's wellness that is funded by the federal and state governments. The other is a $59,561 contract for family planning services funded by federal, state, and private foundation funds.
• Commissioners signed a letter in support of a proposal that would extend the reach of a DMEA-owned fiber-optic cable to municipalities in Delta County where it might be utilized to provide improved Internet access for consumers.
"The Delta Board of County Commissioners fully supports Delta County Economic Development's request of DMEA and Tri-State to extend and upgrade the fiber-optic cables running from the major Tri-State line that exists west of Delta to the substations in Delta County," the letter states.
• Commissioners agreed that the county may serve as a "cooperating agency" during the environmental impact statement process for the Bull Mountain Master Development Plan. The invitation to participate was made by the Bureau of Land Management's Uncompahgre Field Office. The county has served in cooperating agency status on other UFO projects.
The Bull Mountain Master Development Plan encompasses producing natural gas fields located mostly in Gunnison County. The master plan concept is being developed partly in answer to complaints from environmental interests' fears about "piecemeal" development and expansion of energy exploration and production projects.
• Commissioners awarded a bid for sound system upgrades at the county fairgrounds. The bid of $28,310 went to Star Tech Electronics of Placerville. A competing bid was $338 lower, but it lacked the computer and software that the county wanted as part of the package.
• The lone bidder for the county's asphalt and road oils supplies contract was Suncor Energy of Denver. Commissioners accepted the company's bids for several different types and quantities of materials.blog comments powered by Disqus