The Stewardship Council has decided not to take a position on the Fish and Wildlife deal. "If you go back a year and a half ago, there were incredible divisions among the boardmembers on the wisdom of pursuing the parkway," says director David Abelson. "The only thing that the stewardship council wants to focus on is contamination issues."

Morzel represents Boulder on that council, and last year Boulder decided to take an officially neutral stance on the Jefferson Parkway — at the same time pushing it as far away from Boulder as possible. "The Jefferson Parkway is very controversial, and it should be," Morzel says.

And controversial as it's been, the fallout continues to grow. Last week, Leroy Moore, a longtime opponent of Rocky Flats who's head of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, got the results of testing commissioned from Boston Chemical Data Corp. "The route of the proposed Jefferson Parkway passes through the heart of the most contaminated area along the eastern border of the site," says Moore. "We therefore thought that construction of a highway in this area would stir up clouds of plutonium-laden dust." In September, BCDC's Marco Kaltofen collected samples along the eastern perimeter of Rocky Flats (Moore has been denied access to the refuge itself), the same place that Atomic Energy Commission scientists, concerned by fires at the plant in 1967 and 1969, had tested in 1970 — and found lower levels of plutonium along Indiana Street than expected. "I was certainly surprised," Moore says. "I thought our results would more or less mirror what was found by P.W. Krey and E.P. Hardy back in 1970."

And since the area tested in 1970 was never mitigated, he can think of two possibilities: The plutonium blew away, contaminating other areas downwind, or "percolated down to deeper levels in the soil," Moore suggests. "This possibility means we could demand that Fish and Wildlife do the EIS they don't want to do." And even if the levels were surprisingly low, "what's important is the comparison to average background deposits of plutonium from global fallout along the Front Range," he says. One of the samples is almost forty times average background.

Although Fish and Wildlife rejected conducting a full EIS, it does not plan to complete the final exchange until January 10 at the earliest. "That allows Golden and others to continue their negotiations," Lucas says. "Some folks were concerned that we could just close this thing at the courthouse in the next couple of days. That isn't true."

Particularly since Superior plans to push for a full EIS in court, "there's no way they can buy off Superior," says Debra Williams, a town trustee. "The only thing we're asking is to not run the parkway through here."

But Morzel says the time is right to do the deal. Her history with Rocky Flats stretches much further back than her involvement with Boulder. As a citizen, she was part of the protests at the plant, back when it was making plutonium triggers for bombs. As an elected official, though, she has to deal with the fallout. "We can continue to argue about Jefferson Parkway," she says. "We could do all of these things to delay the project, but after being at this for fourteen years, I really think this is the best we could have done.... We have to find common denominators, where we can come together as community and transcend our differences."

Pardon our dust.

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11 comments
Theblueboomerang
Theblueboomerang

Something not mentioned here is that all toll revenue of the Parkway will be collected by a South American company who will own all the rights for 99 years. Roundabouts on highway 93 have been discussed to slow down traffic and push commuters on the parkway. Has anyone stopped to think about the fact that people living at the Indiana and highway 72 area are most likely going to find jobs in metro Denver, so why on earth would they each pay a daily toll (twice a day) to go to Golden or Highway 36? No, instead they will jam up Indiana and Ward road. They are already scraping the dirt down there for the Candelas development. Some ideas for the street names: Plutonium place, Atomic ave, Radioactive road, and Cancer court.

Pamelasuejackson
Pamelasuejackson

Plutonium is forever. We need REAL, HONEST impact studies, so we can make an educated decision...we do NOT need more cover-ups. If it is safe, why hide the details???

Jessica
Jessica

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billthegalactichero
billthegalactichero

"That decision paves the way for the Jefferson Parkway, a proposed four-lane toll road that would go through that right-of-way, finishing the metro beltway that's been the subject of a down-and-dirty fight for decades."

It would not complete the beltway. It stops short at both ends neither reaching C470 nor the NW Parkway. It is a highway from Nowhere to Nowhere (or to be less theatric from highway 128 to highway 93.)

Mr Manumba Ney
Mr Manumba Ney

You are right about the fight for decades. The plutonium will be there not for decades, but thousands of years. The other side of the argument is all the water from Rocky Flats runs downhill into Ralston Reservoir, Standley Lake and a reservoir less than six years old off highway 72.The reservoirs all support healthy fish and aquatic life, so they must know what they are doing. Plutonium is too heavy a man made element to become airborne, but the wind always blows at Rocky Flats, combined with water runoff, the risks are not known.

 
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