Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Right to Know

Here's a good article about the future Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge, formerly the Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant. For those who don't know, this was the site of one of the most famous cases of environmental crime in American history. The foreman of the grand jury that investigated the plant, a rancher named Wes McKinley, later ran for state office and won. His first act as a representative was to introduce a bill requiring visitors to the refuge to be advised that:

[T]he DOE, the EPA and the State of Colorado acknowledge that, after the cleanup is complete, detectable levels of plutonium and other radioactive and hazardous materials will remain...
McKinley originally wanted visitors to sign an informed-consent form before entering the site; with that provision removed, the bill has won preliminary approval.

McKinley, by the way, won his seat in a heavily Republican district. This contributed to Democrats regaining the Colorado State House, and along with Senate victories, overturned 44 years of Republican rule. I think that says quite a bit about the importance to progressives of local environmental issues.

1 comment:

robin andrea said...

It has been a long time since I thought of Rocky Flats. Many years ago in the 80s when I was a student at CU Boulder, and a volunteer at Naropa Institute, I recall there was a protest that was designed to "Circle Rocky Flats," I think to "change its energy," but I am not certain. My memory keeps dredging up the chant "out demons out" but I'm pretty sure that's what we were shouting at the Pentagon in the late 60s. What I do remember is standing in the hot mountain sun with 10,000 people trying to link hands around the site. There weren't enough us, and I thought -- wow, more people turn out to watch the Broncos toss around a football, than will come here to stop this madness. I'm glad to read that McKinley is trying to tell the truth about that environmental disaster.