Rocky Flats is back in the news. On October 18, a United Kingdom-based company applied to drill right by the former nuclear weapons plant. Although the application was withdrawn, complaints keep coming in. On November 15, incoming House Speaker KC Becker as well as other members of the Colorado Legislature signed on to a letter asking that the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, which opened in September, be closed to the public.
And last Sunday, we published an op ed by librarian Ron Baxendale II, who worries every time anyone who lives in the zip code 80007 applies for a library card. Did they do their homework? Do they know what happened on the land just to the north?
Readers have plenty of thoughts on the matter. Says Stefanie:
They're building houses on poisoned land, but great views are all that matter.
Well, that’s what happens when you want to live in Colorado but know nothing about our history. Research where you buy a house, folks. Let the idiots sit on their radioactive ground in their million-dollar homes... money can’t fix cancer.
I wouldn't live in one of those homes even if it was given to me free with all utilities paid forever.
They should be told. I moved nearby twenty years ago; I wasn’t told. I wouldn’t have moved here if I knew. People aren’t as much arrogant as they just don’t believe that “they” would build on land such as this. Or make it a wildlife refuge.
But then there's this from Ben:
This is fear-mongering, fake news at its finest. Very disappointed they ran this piece. Statistics show everything said to be incorrect. I feel very sorry for the families' bad luck, but MS is not caused by radiation and multiple studies have shown cancer rates in the area match Denver averages (www.colorado.gov/.../cdphe-rocky-flats-cancer-study). It's a very unfortunate case of correlation, not causation.
Replies Billie Jo:
My brother-in-law who was part of the cleanup crew bragged to me once, as he was making thousands of dollars, "You wouldn't believe the stuff we are doing." Meaning, they weren't being careful but were profiting greatly. Then, when diagnosed with prostrate cancer, he tried to double dip into the injured workers' fund. No. Do not buy a house in 80007.
Accept personal responsibility and research. We did and chose not to live there.
Full disclosure would be good...
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"New Statehouse Leaders Join Push to Close Rocky Flats"
Next June marks the thirtieth anniversary of the FBI's raid on the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, the Department of Energy facility that produced plutonium triggers for the nation's nuclear arsenal at a top-secret facility sixteen miles upwind of Denver.
After that raid, the plant never produced another trigger. But the bombs just keep dropping. On November 15, community organizations across Colorado along with several prominent elected officials sent a letter to Carmelo Melendez, director of the DOE's Office of Legacy Management, as well as Cynthia Martinez, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System for the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife, calling for what's now known as the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge to be closed to the public, citing residual contamination from decades of plutonium bomb trigger production at the site.
The letter was initiated by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, which started watchdogging Rocky Flats while it was still producing plutonium triggers. But this time, it's joined by new allies: Signers include new Colorado State Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, new Colorado House Majority Leader KC Becker, and state representatives Jonathan Singer and Mike Foote, as well as several local school board members. Seven school districts have prohibited field trips to the site.
So far, the federal officials have not replied to the letter. But our readers have weighed in. What do you think about Rocky Flats reopening to the public? Post a comment or share your thoughts in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.