New Signage at Rocky Flats Refuge Ignores Mandatory Warning Language
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for immediate release, Tuesday, September 4, 2018 NEW TRAIL-HEAD SIGN AT ROCKY FLATS REFUGE FAILS TO INCLUDE LEGALLY MANDATED WARNING LANGUAGE; REQUIRED TERMS “PLUTONIUM,” “DANGEROUS” AND “ACCIDENTS” OMITTED; ADVOCATES DEMAND EXPLANATION FROM U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE
A new sign erected at a Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge trail head after advocates complained about the absence of mandatory warning notices fails to comply with language required under the site’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP). A letter from the attorneys representing groups seeking to stop the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) from opening trails and a visitors’ center at the former plutonium production facility called for the agency to heed its legal obligations for public notice. The required CCP language for trail-head signs states, for example, “Weapon components production at the plant involved plutonium and hazardous materials. The work was dangerous and secret. Over the course of decades, there were accidents. Some accidents and some of the waste handling practices of the early decades resulted in releases of plutonium and other contaminants into the environment.” However, the newly posted sign at the Woman Creek Loop trail head fails to even mention the terms “plutonium,” “hazardous materials,” “dangerous,” “accidents,” or “waste handling.” The letter to FWS concludes, “At the very least, visitors to the Refuge have the right and expectation to an accurate summary of Rocky Flats history. . . Please explain immediately the authority upon which FWS relies for disregarding the publicly vetted language that was approved in 2007.” Rocky Flats manufactured plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons. The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the site for environmental violations in 1989, and it never reopened. Local groups are suing FWS claiming that the government failed to follow environmental requirements in deciding to open the site to the public. Plaintiffs in the suit include: Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, Candelas Glows, Rocky Flats Right to Know, Rocky Flats Neighborhood Association and Environmental Information Network. They are represented by Boulder environmental attorney Randall Weiner.
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- The September 4 letter to Refuge Manager David Lucas, the required warning text from the Comprehensive Conservation Plan, and a photo of newly posted signage are all available on request.