I haven’t posted an article that directly relates to the former Rocky Flats plant for quite some time, but there is recent news about the area where the plant was located .There have been plans to transfer a parcel of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge for a right of way to construct part of the Jefferson County Parkway near where the plant operated. The court recently threw out law suits to stop the transfer ownership of the strip of land. The suits were based in part on “…the lack of a comprehensive environmental assessment of its impacts.”
The parkway has been vigorously opposed by people who object to the development and resulting congestion that would result. A focus many who opposed the project was plutonium contamination in the area. One article explained, “Opponents say building the road along the route currently proposed, which skirts the eastern edge of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, could turn up soil laced with dangerous levels of plutonium in the area, which was the longtime site of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.
The $10 million dollar land swap for the right of way officially went through on New Year’s Eve Day. The court action to reverse a last-minute injunction was undoubtedly celebrated by the cities and governmental agencies that see the positives of completing a high-speed highway around the metropolitan area. A spokesperson for one of the environmental groups that had sued to block the transfer, “…called the closing a setback, but said his group will continue to look into ways to fight the building of the tollway.”
The Jefferson Parkway Authority Board of Directors will now meet to see how they would prefer to proceed now that the land has been obtained. I’m guessing they will decide to move toward the beginning of construction and that opponents will be actively looking for ways to stop it.
For full disclosure, I had a back and forth email discussion with the opponents of the project in the early days of this web site to tell them I had no position on the parkway, but risks from the amount of plutonium in the area was a very weak basis for their protests. Some of them were quite unhappy with me and inquired who was paying me. The answer is that I post opinions without payment from anyone. I’ll be interested in what happens next.