Help RMPJC in our fight to close the Rocky Flats Refuge!
On Wednesday May 18th, oral arguments were heard in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for the Rocky Flats Refuge case (RMPJC et al. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, et al.). The lawsuit was first filed on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Candelas Glows/Rocky Flats Glows, Rocky Flats Right to Know, Rocky Flats Neighborhood Association and Environmental Information Network Inc. in 2018, in an attempt to stop the Rocky Flats Refuge from opening to the public and to halt the development of future trails. In 2021, plaintiffs filed an appeal seeking to overturn a district judge’s decision that the federal government had completed a legally adequate review before allowing public trails on Rocky Flats. As a nuclear weapons plant, Rocky Flats produced an estimated 70,000 plutonium pits starting in 1952 and ending in 1989 when an FBI raid found severe environmental violations that led to the plant being shut down. While the cost of cleanup at Rocky Flats was estimated by the Department of Energy to cost $37 billion and take 65 years, cleanup was concluded in 2005 with a final cost of only $7.3 billion. The construction of trails and a visitor center on the Rocky Flats refuge has the potential to dislodge plutonium, americium, and other radioactive particles that still are present below surface soils, which will put workers, refuge visitors, and anyone living downwind of Rocky Flats at risk of exposure, particularly to particulate inhalation. When plutonium is lodged in one’s body through inhalation or through an open wound, is likely to remain in the body permanently and continuously bombard surrounding cells with radiation. This radiation can lead to the development of cancer cells, including many rare forms of cancer, as well as immune deficiencies, birth defects, and many other health problems. To protect public health, the impacts of recreation at the former Rocky Flats nuclear bomb manufacturing site should have been much more thoroughly evaluated prior to opening the Refuge. This appeal intends to compel a comprehensive, public review of the risks of radioactive contamination, consistent with federal law. We are grateful to our allies for their continued support as we take this powerful next step in closing the Rocky Flats Refuge to public use and protecting public health and safety. To support our ongoing legal efforts, please consider making a donation on our Colorado Gives page.