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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Rocky Flats Opponents File In Federal Appeals Court Against Nuclear Weapons Factory Turned Into Wildlife Sanctuary

Calling it “the last and best chance to close this shelter,” a group opposed to using the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant as a wildlife sanctuary open to tourists and cyclists filed their case in federal appeals court on Friday.

A complaint filed by the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, along with several district groups, seeks to overturn the July ruling of US District Court Chief Justice Philip A. Brimmer to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim against the Fisheries and Wildlife Service. USA.

“My clients do not believe that the serious environmental issues associated with residual plutonium contamination in Rocky Flats have been properly addressed by Fish and Wildlife,” attorney Randall Weiner said Friday.

Specifically, the appeal says the federal agency failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act by opening a shelter to the public three years ago and building a network of trails there. It cites an email from a 2011 former Rocky Flats manager suggesting that public trails on the east side of the site avoid the “plutonium plume” downwind of the shelter.

The plaintiffs also argue that the portion of the property on which the trails will be laid was not purchased until 2012 and was never assessed for contamination. Claire O’Brien, administrator of the Center for Peace and Justice in Boulder, said that “it is not safe for people to rest there.”

“It is unsafe to have any levels of plutonium that could affect people, children and dogs,” she said.

Dave Lucas, manager of the Rocky Flats hideout, said Fish and Wildlife could not comment on the ongoing lawsuit.

The hideout has 11 miles of trails where triggers for nuclear warheads were assembled for over 40 years before the weapons factory was raided by federal agents in 1989 and closed several years later. It took a decade and $ 7 billion to clean up the inner core of the 5,200-acre shelter north of Arvada, which had been mixed with chemical contamination over the years of bomb-making.

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This 1300-acre inner core, called the Central Operating Room, remains closed to the public indefinitely.

Rocky Flats made headlines in 2019 when a plutonium hotspot was discovered on the east side of the hideout along the Indiana Street fence line. The soil sample showed 264 picocuries per gram of soil, five times the standard set by the federal government when the Rocky Plains were cleaned up.

But dozens of other soil samples taken in the same area, as well as in other parts of the shelter, have been tested within government-set acceptable risk thresholds for the lethal substance. The rocky plains are home to 239 migratory and resident wildlife species, including prairie falcons, deer, elk, coyotes, songbirds and the endangered Prebla prairie mice.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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