for immediate release, Thursday, November 15, 2018
LOCAL GROUPS, COMMUNITY LEADERS, ELECTED OFFICIALS
CALL FOR HALT TO PUBLIC RECREATION AT ROCKY FLATS REFUGE;
LETTER TO FEDS. CITES EVIDENCE OF RESIDUAL CONTAMINATION
FROM DECADES OF PLUTONIUM BOMB TRIGGER PRODUCTION
Community organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people were joined today by local elected officials in calling on the federal government to stop public recreation at the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge. A letter sent to Carmelo Melendez, Director of the Office of Legacy Management at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System cited residual contamination from decades of plutonium bomb trigger production at the site.
Signers of the letter included Colorado Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, Colorado House Majority Leader KC Becker, State Representatives Jonathan Singer and Mike Foote, and several local school board members. Seven school districts responsible for 300,000 students have decided not to allow field trips to the site because of health and safety concerns.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in Boulder initiated the letter. Other signers include the nationwide Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and dozens of local Colorado groups. Among the many prominent individuals who also endorsed the call to end public access at the Refuge are Jon Lipsky, the former FBI agent who led the raid that shut down Rocky Flats for environmental crimes and Kristen Iverson, author of the award-winning book “Full Body Burden” about the plant.
According to the sign-on letter, “In the best interest of public health, DOE Legacy Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must immediately halt public recreation at the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located on the previous buffer zone of the Rocky Flats Plant (1952-1989), which produced 70,000 weapons-grade plutonium pits for the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. Activities at the plant led to contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water due to accidental leakages and serious fires in 1957 and 1969, emitting plutonium into the air. The land where the plant was located is now a federal designated Superfund site.” Dr. Mark Johnson, executive director at the local Jefferson County Public Health, has previously stated that he thinks it is unwise to open Rocky Flats to the public.