U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service must cancel the “prescribed burn” planned for the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge in the Spring of 2015. Doing the burn will endanger public health by releasing plutonium particles into the atmosphere over the Denver Metro Area.
In 1990-1991, artist John Freeman created a billboard series to bring attention to the potentially toxic and hazardous operations of Rocky Flats. He was warning us that every day the plant was in operation, it was creating waste that would keep the site toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. Now, after only a few decades and 25 years after the FBI/EPA raid that shut down the plant, development is underway and planned in ways no one would have imagined then because of the known contamination. Many locals, experts, ex-officials and ex-workers are horrified at pending underway developments in the area that could still pose a public health threat. But many people thinking about recreating or moving into housing developments like Candelas and Whisper Creek are moving from outside the area and often from outside the state.
As much of this development has been pushed through with attempts to minimize debate and sweep concerns under (the radioactive) rug, locals have been beginning to gather voicing their collective concerns. We will again be gathering to raise awareness about Rocky Flats’ controversial, contaminated past and keep its memory alive so that people can be protected from its potential hazards.
Join us on Sat, July 19th at 11:00am
at the corner of Indiana & McIntyre in Arvada
at the Candelas new housing development.
Check out the Facebook event page and share: https://www.facebook.com/events/1509951512549741/
We’ll educate and raise awareness, discuss, and take action to say no to development around Rocky Flats, no to opening a “wildlife refuge” on contaminated soil, no to a plutonium parkway, and no to pumping water from the Western slope to feed over-sized, controversial housing. We want communities, children and animals nearby and downwind to be protected and ex-workers to be honored and treated. We’ll have information, signs, and extra has-mat suits for those who want them.
For those who’d like more information first or who would like to help make signs and prepare can come to a teach-in Wednesday July 16th from 6pm to 7:55pm ** LOCATION CHANGED: at the Lakewood Public Library.**
KB Homes hosts a Grand Opening this weekend Westwoods Mesa When we began making waves about Candelas, people asked why we hadn’t targeted some of the other developments in the area. After looking at some of the contamination maps, we realized they were right! The concerns are not just with Candelas by any means. Along with Candelas and Whispering Creek, here’s another (beautiful) new development from which we hope no workers or residents are harmed.
Map of contamination from the 1957 fire according to CDPHE via wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plutonium_plume_from_the_1957_fire_at_Rocky_Flats,_per_Colorado_state_dept_of_public_health.gif
Sunday’s Denver Post (2/9/14) featured an article on community concerns about Colorado’s controversial developments surrounding Rocky Flats, an infamous former nuclear weapons plant. The coverage is important because much of the housing developments have occurred without much public debate. Many neighbors, ex-workers, and people in the know shake their heads or have conversations about their surprise, dismay, or worries, in fact those conversations helped spark “Candelas Glows.” The controversy has largely flown under the media radar, however, which could be bad news for new-comers, neighbors, residents and workers.
The release of this article is a good time to reiterate that the concerns here are not just about the families moving into these homes adjacent to Rocky Flats. If the soil is contaminated, then the dust is contaminated and workers are digging in it and kicking it up for folks in Denver, Westminster, Arvada, Broomfield and Superior, etc. to breathe it in. What about workers and neighbors?
One thing still to be adequately covered by the media and authorities include the effects of September’s flooding on the site, both on and below the surface including nearby water, some of which serves as drinking water to nearby communities. Who will have oversight on this land when other natural disasters like the flooding or drought occur? US Fish & Wildlife?! Will they know what to watch out for to protect the public from their “Wildlife Refuge?”
Please take a moment to comment on the article, or better yet, respond through a letter to the editor. It doesn’t have to big or fancy. It’s important that your thoughts be shared– even if you’re not a “professional protester,” scientist or policy maker!
A local artist has decided to match the outrageous, radioactive history of Rocky Flats with a large, surprising work of art. Looking at Colorado’s newest historical horse sculpture conjures up images of the well know conversation-starting Bronco icon at Denver International Airport. It’s just as bright and confusing with a touch of disturbing, but it seems to have a much sweeter soul—which speaks to the “Wildlife Refuge” designation of Rocky Flats. It’s sure to leave viewers with more questions than answers. The life-size horse is wearing a magenta hazmat suit with black booties. A respirator partially covers a beautiful realistic face with thoughtful eyes.
The artist, Jeff Gipe has been interested in issues surrounding Rocky Flats for quite some time and was relieved when a local group, Candelas Glows, began raising alarms about new housing developments being built adjacent to the former nuclear weapons plant. But Jeff has a much more personal reason that he’s spent thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and lots of sweat and tears making his horse creation come to life. Jeff’s father worked at the plant for 20 years and like many of his co-workers, now suffers devastating physical effects of working at one of the world’s most notoriously polluted plutonium processing sites. In talking with members of Candelas Glows, Jeff became intrigued with the idea of memorializing the site.
Along with Candelas Glows and many community members, Gipe is concerned that Rocky Flats’ history is being ignored and that because of it, more people will be harmed. Located in a pristine-looking and beautiful part of the Front Range, the contaminated history of Rocky Flats is invisible: the radioactive accidents, the midnight plutonium incinerations, the corroded storage tanks, the sealed court documents, the historical FBI raid and the leftover plutonium waste buried there. “It’s up to people who know the history of the site, and artists,” says Gipe, “to make the invisible visible. To keep memory and even respect for the history of a critical Cold War site alive.” The horse may be shocking, but nothing compared to the controversial and sometimes shocking history it is trying to invoke. And its timing is perfect. After the September floods, activists and scientists are concerned that some of the waste buried at Rocky Flats may have risen to the surface and/or further contaminated groundwater. And in the last week of 2013, a land swap was completed which is considered to be a critical ingredient of the toll road proposed on the infamous site.
The 400-600 lb horse is lining up a couple of appearances, but is looking for a more permanent home. Gipe’s hope is that it be placed on Rocky Flats or land facing it to begin to memorialize the site and bring attention to its tumultuous and sure to be long-lasting history. For more, check out the Facebook page for more or email at email@example.com .
Great article from Colorado Independent about the controversial urge to develop the beautiful, but terribly contaminated land around Rocky Flats. It covers the “plutonium parkway” which as of the end of 2013 is one step closer to reality. It also the newest Rocky Flats neighbor, Candelas and it’s claims of being “green.” It discusses the controversial history that has, through law suits and strange twists and turns, become recently cleared for development… And of course, the long history of community activism around the site of which Candelas Glows is now a part.
KGNU’s Irene Rodriguez did an in-depth interview with Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish, local mom and accidental Rocky Flats activist opposing further development around the site.
Here she talks about flooding, plutonium timescales, how a mother of three ends up being served cease and desist papers from a powerful corporation, and the need to make a memorial out of the old nuclear weapons plant (NOT a “Wildlife Refuge”)… and why you might need to buy your water for now if you live in the area.
This is the third piece on Rocky Flats the station has done since the 1,000 year flood the site recently experienced.