Small Landfills in Southeast Colorado Get Reprieve



Prowers County Commissioners, Wendy Buxton-Andrade and Tom Grasmick offered some welcome news at the monthly Prowers Economic Prosperity meeting held December 5th at the Granada City Complex.  Buxton-Andrade said that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, CDPHE, in the face of a unanimous presentation from Colorado County Commissioners, has decided to relax its rulings on communities that have landfills at under a 20 ton capacity.  This impacts Granada and Wiley, as well as 17 other towns throughout the state.  Granada Mayor, Glenn Otto, said, “We were facing a $52,000 dollar fine from the CDPHE on our landfill operation.”

Grasmick told the gathering the local commissioners, along with others in the state, fought long and hard to present their case to the state health department. Buxton-Andrade said the lessening of the fines was put in writing and future meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency are being set to provide assistance with helping communities bring their landfills into compliance.  Grasmick added that the towns will receive financial assistance for a five year period with setting up test wells around their landfills, but after that, the towns will be on their own.  Several meetings with representatives from southeast Colorado were held this past fall to seek some forms of redress from the CDPHE on their expensive landfill regulations.

A sub-committee is being formed to develop a marketing plan which stresses the county as being marijuana free in terms of grow farms or retail sales outlets. Board member, Doug Thrall, proposed an idea several months ago, to attempt to attract businesses which would locate in Prowers County that favor local ordinances which prohibit retail marijuana sales.  Commissioners Buxton-Andrade and Grasmick pointed out the county recently adopted an ordinance limiting the number of marijuana plants to just twelve per residence.  Prior to that adoption, every person over 21 years at a residence could grow six plants for personal use and another six for medical uses.  Buxton-Andrade said under that prior ruling, you could have as many as ten persons at one house growing as many as twelve plants per person.  The ordinance puts the limit per household at a dozen.  Thrall stated he knew of a Christian-oriented publication with a circulation of around 33,000 that serves Colorado.  “We can call them and find out what they charge for advertising if we decide to pursue this line of marketing for the community,” he said.  Craig Loveless, the CEO of Prowers Medical Center suggested the board use the PEP website to display a suitable message along those lines.  Anne Marie Crampton, Aaron Leiker and Housin Hourieh said they’d served on the subcommittee to develop some ideas which the board could review at their January meeting.  Jacob Holdren cautioned that the message should reference the willingness of the county to attract hemp farms, highlighting the difference between marijuana and hemp so as not to curtail any development of legal hemp growth.

Dr. Linda Lujan, President of Lamar Community College, stated that spring semester enrollment at the college is up. A search committee is looking for a replacement president for Otero Junior College as Jim Rizzuto announced his retirement.  She added that there have been 36 applicants from a nationwide search to find a replacement for Cheryl Sanchez who is retiring from her administrative post at LCC.  “We expect to have four applicants the college will interview by the end of January.”  She added the college received a $15,000 grant to develop a gardening program.

PEP President, Rick Robbins, said he’s been in touch with State Senator Larry Crowder and Representative Jerry Sonnenburg, to develop legislation which will reduce inspection times for semis hauling commercial commodities. “The Colorado State Patrol and Ports of Entry are also working to limit wait times within a five mile radius of semis coming through Ports of Entry,” he explained.  He said that in this day and age, it’s lost time that has the greater impact on agricultural finances in this region.

PEP Executive Director, Eric Depperschmidt, told the board that there have been few updates on potential businesses in the county. He took part in the formation of an Eastern Plains Coalition which plans to use the greater number of participants to leverage their goals in the state legislature.  A quarterly meeting will be held in Limon in February.  He’s developing an end of year survey of about 15 questions for local businesses, asking about their goals for 2018 and any means by which PEP can assist them.  He added that the board roundtable meetings are expected to pick up again after the holiday season and said quarterly meetings as opposed to monthly gatherings would be more suitable.  The annual PEP board meeting has been scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, February 6th and a meeting place will be announced shortly.  The next regular board meeting will be held Tuesday, January 2nd and that meeting place will also be sent to board members.

By Russ Baldwin

(Editor’s Note:  I mistakenly used Rick Rigel’s name for Rick Robbins as PEP President in the article and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused-Russ Baldwin)


Filed Under: AgricultureCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCollegeConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationEmploymentEnvironmentFeaturedHealthPublic SafetyUtilities


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