Sixty years ago, metro boosters celebrated the feds' decision to put a factory that would manufacture plutonium triggers for bombs sixteen miles upwind from Denver. Today, the government is still wrestling with what to do with the formerRocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant
, now slated to become a wildlife refuge.
Currently at issue is a 300-foot-wide strip of land at the eastern edge of the site, which could be sold or traded. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Rocky Flats' operator, has received two bids on the property -- one that would make it part of the proposed, and controversial, Jefferson Parkway, intended to propel development in the area. The other, touted by nearby Golden, a Jefferson Parkway opponent, would turn it into a bikeway.
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And there's a third choice, pushed by the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship group, which is concerned that the area has never been adequately cleaned up -- we're talking plutonium, after all -- and wants the site forever off-limits to the public. "Plutonium remains dangerously radioactive for a quarter of a million years," the group's site notes. "Construction of either the highway or the bikeway along Indiana St. would almost certainly stir up clouds of plutonium-laden dust, making it available to be inhaled, endangering construction workers, nearby residents, commuters and others."
Fish & Wildlife is accepting comments on the two proposals through July 29 -- in other words, today. "Comments and information received will help determine the appropriate level of environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to expand the refuge boundary," its site notes. "Rocky Flats, a former nuclear plant located just 16 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado is a new refuge in the US Fish and Wildlife Refuge System."
You can find the comment form and other information here.
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