Rocky Flats, which once manufactured plutonium triggers, still produces secrets

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Late Friday, the Department of Fish and Wildlife referred queries about a proposed land swap (which would add a 617-acre parcel to the southwest side of Rocky Flats in exchange for a 300-foot right-of-way on the eastern border going to the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority) to the Justice Department.

Yesterday afternoon, I got my answer. Sort of. A spokesperson for the Justice Department sent this response to my query about the status of the swap:

Since this matter remains pending litigation, I must refer you to our previous filings with the court and decline further comment.

When Fish and Wildlife announced in mid-December that it had signed off on the deal, the plan was to start the transfer of the properties this month. But then Superior filed suit, asking for a more extensive environmental assessment of what highway construction in that area might do to the environment. Then, two weeks ago, Golden filed a suit of its own.

Those filings have put the swap on hold...for now. The government's response to the two suits is due in mid-February. And in the meantime, the feds are staying quiet.

This plant once processed plutonium for nuclear weapons -- which explains the environmental concerns. Plutonium has a very long half-life. So do the secrets of Rocky Flats.

Some of Rocky Flats' secrets almost spilled out when the late Judge Sherman Finesilver donated his papers to the Denver Public Library -- papers that included details of the investigation into Rocky Flats after the FBI raid there in 1989. Click to read Patricia Calhoun's column on the subject, "Judge Finesilver almost gave the Rocky Flats grand jury a big twentieth birthday present."

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