Red Lady Coalition

Mission Statement

The Red Lady Coalition is a group of individuals and organizations whose mission is preservation of a safe, intact and protected Mt. Emmons. This includes preserving the integrity ...

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Historic Town of Crested Butte

©2012 Red Lady Coalition
Crested Butte, CO

The official blog of Red Lady Coalition

Red Lady moly mine makes no $ense...

Red Lady Coalition

Trucks and traffic
October 19, 2008

When Colorado Department of Transportation last summer announced paving from Round Mountain north to Crested Butte, I was crestfallen. Having participated in recent Highway 135 realignment and construction, a project that boggled motorists for two complete summers, this year’s delays and oily, asphalt fog were discouraging. Why did they need to pave it again so soon?

The answer was obvious. However long the road surface had served, it was pretty trashed. It is easy to determine that increased traffic degrades asphalt; big trucks rip it up. The other feature of the situation is volume of traffic. More trucks, more paving; it’s a feedback loop.

I imagine the proposed molybdenum mine on Mt. Emmons, and wonder how the situation could sustain heavily increased traffic. Cement trucks, over-sized loads, trailers hauling LHDs, scrapers and earth movers would ply Highway 135 to support construction and operation of a mine. How could infrastructure possibly handle existing traffic, plus fifty or sixty additional trucks a day 24/7, without continuous road construction?

That kind of traffic wouldn’t work with one lane closed all the time for never-ending construction. Gridlock would be all-consuming; commerce as we know it would grind to a halt. My low-slung car would be face-first in the exhaust of some huge truck, bruising its undercarriage on road base. I could sit there and think about county tax-payers paying for it all.
Posted by Denis B. Hall

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Value destruction
October 14, 2008

Crested Butte and the greater Gunnison Valley thrive because they attract tourists/recreationists, retirees, second-homeowners and life-style business workers and investors. The amenity and knowledge based economy has superseded the historical mining economy over the past 40 years. It is grounded in the open spaces; clean water and air; relatively unrestricted access to hiking, biking, hunting, riding and skiing; clear night skies; and un-congested roads.

These factors combine to create the “brand” that is now Crested Butte and Gunnison County. It has taken decades to build the brand and it is now at risk. The mere perception that a mine may be built will raise the specter of destruction of all the qualities of life associated with our communities.

Investors, whether in homes or businesses, will look to other mountain communities that are not burdened with the threat of a mine. Construction and construction-related businesses will be the first to feel the consequences. Then real estate will be devastated not only by the fall in new construction, but also by the looming collapse of the brand.

Once the image starts to be tainted by the risk of a mine, tourists and recreationists will also begin to shy away; they will consider other choices. Our service and retail businesses will experience structural decline; residents will eventually start to leave, and the downward spiral will continue. Value will be destroyed, jobs will be lost at a far greater rate than anything a mine could potentially create, and the social fabric of our communities will unravel.
Posted by Bill Ronai
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Mining heritage
October 11, 2008

Crested Butte never chose to become a mining town. Instead, and luckily for the town’s longevity, it just happened. Crested Butte first hosted a sawmill and smelter to service surrounding silver mines. Only after the silver crash of 1892 did mining—coal mining—become the Crested Butte’s economic mainstay.

I showed up considerably after all that happened. I knew all about “mining heritage” because my grandfather and mother were born in mining towns Silverton and Cripple Creek.

Although it was dangerous and often toxic, the detritus that is Crested Butte’s mining heritage was familiar. I respected Crested Butte’s old-timers and social structure, which persisted after the boom and held the town together during the inevitable bust.

But my arrival, and the arrival of other young people like me, heralded a new age. Mining was history; we chose skiing and mountains, recreation and tourism over mining. Our arrival discomfited Crested Butte old-timers who had spent their lives working in mines. They told us young kids, “You can’t eat the scenery.” But they were wrong.
Posted by Denis B. Hall
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Business
October 8, 2008

There are a number of specific businesses that would thrive in a mining environment. We will never convince all of the people in those fields to support our effort to stop the mine.

But it is clear that a mine would hurt the overwhelming bulk of businesses. Our amenity-driven business strength would be killed because in-migration of second home owners, retirees, and knowledge/information-based businesses would stop.

There are many similar communities in the West that do not present the environmental risks that a mine would bring to Gunnison Valley. A mine would threaten the value of new home investments, and our arts, restaurant and retail environments. That would drive away people who are here now and would cause a serious decline in property values.

All the data we have about Western towns that have been successful over the past dozen or so years says exactly that. It is how our community has been successfully evolving. If we want to reverse that evolution, bring in a big mine. That's the reality we must bring the community to understand, even as we know a few parts of the community may see their own personal financial interests being allied with a mine.
Posted by Jim Kingsdale
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Back yard
October 4, 2008

When I talk about how a proposed molybdenum mine in Crested Butte and Gunnison Valley would put at risk our natural environment, our economy and our way of life, I get called a NIMBY, someone who doesn’t want a molybdenum mine in his back yard.

Well, yeah: you got that right. While some people would actually welcome a major industrial project like a mine, mill and waste disposal sites, others of us like our back yard just the way it is.

Maybe I am too attached to my back yard. I am particularly fond of my home place without a major industrial complex in the middle of it. Furthermore, who better to take care of my back yard than those who live in it? It is my responsibility, my duty and my pleasure.
Posted by Denis B. Hall
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