Miner appeals fine for prospecting at Lenado | AspenTimes.com

Miner appeals fine for prospecting at Lenado

Jeremy Heiman

James Keating, who was cited and fined last month for prospecting near Lenado without the proper permit, is fighting the ruling.

Keating has petitioned the Mined Land Reclamation Board to reconsider its decision to fine him $2,100. He will appear before the board Nov. 14.

The board hit Keating with the fine in October for prospecting without a permit. In order to get the fine reduced, Keating would have to get a permit appropriate to the size of his mining operation and post a bond with the Division of Minerals and Geology. The bond is intended to guarantee that mining damage to the environment would be cleaned up if the mining stopped.

Erica Crosby, environmental protection specialist at the Division of Minerals and Geology, said Keating has applied for a permit. Because permit applications are confidential, she couldn’t say whether Keating has submitted the required fee, posted the necessary bond or filed the required mining plan.

Crosby said the board’s October order was based on a “finding of fact and conclusion of law,” but Keating has the right to appeal.

“He doesn’t agree with that,” she said. “He thinks it shouldn’t be a violation or a civil penalty.”

The finding that Keating was in violation of the law was based on the observation that his mining operation had disturbed an area of 3,300 square feet. Under mining law, the largest area that can be disturbed without a prospecting operations permit is 1,600 square feet.

Mining waste, primarily soil and rock, was piled on the land, which is National Forest property. In addition to the size of the area disturbed, Keating’s mine waste encroached on some neighboring, privately-owned property, also a violation.

Keating did not return a telephone call from the Times Wednesday.

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