Jefferson Parkway Legal Ruling

I’m a bit late with this posting, since the ruling was made in mid-April. The article describing the ruling was written by John Aguilar in the Denver Post. He begins the article, “The controversial Jefferson Parkway, long entangled in a series of courtroom challenges, won a major legal battle Friday when the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a complex land swap that enables construction of the Broomfield-to-Golden highway to move ahead. The land transfer involved a 617-acre parcel on the southwestern corner of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge for a 300 –foot wide transportation right of way parallel to Indian Avenue. “A federal judge ruled in favor of the swap in 2012.The 10th circuit judges unanimously affirmed the ruling…”

Plaintiffs in the case had contended that backers of the Parkway “…think the future of the Front Range lies in building more roads, more strip malls, and more housing tracts.” They had claimed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lacked the authority to make the transfer and violated environmental laws including consideration for the Pebble’s meadow jumping mouse, which has become a consistent component of opposition to any Front Range development project. There is, of course, the charge that construction would “…disturb plutonium buried in the soil of the defunct Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.”

The future of the Parkway is far from certain because opponents are unlikely give up their legal challenges. They have legitimate concerns that the Parkway will increase the amount of development in their area. It is common for people who are happy with their current situation to not want more people to come in to enjoy their area.

I wonder whether there could have been any development in the State of Colorado if the current rules had been in effect in the 1940s and 1950s. Could I-70 been approved to traverse Colorado with current rules? How could it possibly have been approved with the disruption to wildlife migration routes and other significant environmental impacts? Could the series of irrigation canals in the Denver metropolitan area that provide a wonderful system of hiking and biking trails have ever been built? Those are probably are unanswerable questions.


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