Do they represent YOU? We believe not.

When we began attending Rocky Flats Stewardship Council meetings about five years ago, it was fairly common to see groups of 5-10 anti-Refuge people appear at many meetings. It was common for them to claim to speak for ‘the public’, often citing the results of petitions or surveys initiated by LeRoy Moore of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.

A statement in the Introduction section of the civil suit from the RM Peace and Justice Center et al [Case 1:18-cv-01017, filed May 1, 2018] claims “Ironically, the USFWS decision comes in the face of growing public concern about opening the Refuge to access and six local school districts have now banned field trips to the Refuge should it be opened.”

This remark appears to suggest that local school districts had made independent quantitative assessments of both the science and the political sentiments of their own stakeholders, parents of school children. In fact, school districts were approached by completely non-technical members of the P&J Center, rather than undertaking Refuge school bans of their own volition. For the real story on school district decisions, look here and here.

It is worth taking a close look at the sentiments of those who actually live around the Refuge–see below.

A report shared with the Stewardship Council shows the results of a broad survey of homeowners around Rocky Flats in September 2018 showed strong support for the National Wildlife Refuge.

The semi-official spokesmen:

  • Chris Allred, a former film major at U.C. Boulder, working for the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
  • Randy Stafford, a self-styled natural scientist. When applying to the Stewardship Council and called out about his claim to represent 100,000 people, he replied, “What I did was I took the US census data, the most recent US Census for the populations of Arvada, Westminster, and some of the other communities immediately surrounding Rocky Flats…So it was a rough estimate, Nancy, of the populations of these municipalities that live pretty nearby Rocky Flats.” This is, of course, the very same population already represented by local municipality members of the Stewardship Council.

Let’s take a look at what our anti-Refuge “representatives” have accomplished so far:

No “prescribed burns” at Rocky Flats ever

In response to public opposition (including a MoveOn petition), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service canceled a “prescribed burn” planned for Spring 2015 at the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. But it expects to do burns at the Refuge in the future. This must not happen, because any burn at the site can endanger public health by releasing plutonium particles.

LeRoy Moore MoveOn petition

Broomfield votes to leave Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority

Longmont resident Chris Allred, who works at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and said he has studied Rocky Flats for five years, was among those speakers…Contamination remains, Allred said, and the only way to reconcile the fact it the nuclear site was built so close to Denver is by acknowledging what is out there and taking responsible steps to protect public health and manage the area responsibly.
“The truth is there are much larger problems than traffic congestion,” he said. “It goes to the nuclear weapons complex.”

Colorado Daily, February 26, 2020, by Jennifer Rios, with contributions by John Aguilar

Broomfield fires back at Arvada, Jefferson County Lawsuit over Jefferson Parkway

After Broomfield councilmembers raised concerns about the plant’s history involving the production of plutonium triggers, soil tests were conducted in May 2019; the results registered plutonium levels generally lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s 50 pCi/g cleanup standard for Rocky Flats, though they were still at detectable levels. The highest rating of 264 pCi/g of plutonium, more than five times the 50 pCi/g cleanup standard for Rocky Flats, was recorded along Indiana Street, near the proposed path of the parkway.

Catie Cheshire, Westword, October 4, 2022

“Rocky (Flats) has burned before, Rocky will burn again in the future,” the council’s executive director, Dave Abelson, said. “Those are just facts. You can’t stop wildfire, as we all know.” [From John Aguilar Denver Post, February 8, 2022]

You are welcome to speculate on which is worse, an uncontrolled fire or a prescribed (and monitored) burn.

Apart from the fact that (i) 239Pu in soil contributes about 2.5% of total alpha radiation (the kind that is more serious when inhaled), (ii) PuO2 (the form present at Rocky Flats) is very insoluble and hence is present at much smaller concentrations in plants than in the soil, note that the nature of “public opposition” is never specified in anti-Refuge petitions and articles.

David Wood and Kim Griffiths attended a meeting of the Broomfield City Council in which a large number of Peace&Justice folks expressed their opinions.

Soil levels were not ‘generally lower’: they were MUCH lower. 95% of samples were below 2 pCi/g. Of course they were detectable–current minimum detectable levels of 239Pu are about 0.002 pCi/g. The 264 pCi/g sample was from a single hot particle of diameter about 8 microns. 454 other samples were well-behaved.