On Jan. 20 I posted on this site an item called the “Beginning of a Platform” for the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship project. Later that day I received from Mickey Harlow a statement she, Sam Dixion, Anne Fenerty and Hildegard Hix had put together responding to this draft “platform” statement. What they wrote had points about the kind of organization that is needed and how it could be developed, matters not dealt with in my draft. Then on Tuesday, Jan. 25, Kathleen Sullivan and Judith Mohling expressed very strongly that they didn’t think “platform” is the right word for what we’re doing. The outcome of that discussion was instead to use the phrase “work plan.” What follows is a first attempt to lay out a work plan that melds what Mickey sent with my earlier platform draft. Comments are invited.
PURPOSE OF NUCLEAR GUARDIANSHIP
Because the nuclear waste buried at Rocky Flats poses a danger that will last for thousands of years, the task of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship project is to keep this reality alive in the minds of future generation. As members of the nuclear age we are all implicated and responsible for the legacy that we will leave behind.
Activities to build and maintain the Guardianship organization
a. The Guardianship project will build on what has already happened at Rocky Flats.
b. Guardians will be expected to become aware of environmental conditions at the site. Materials and educational presentations will be developed and made available for this purpose, with particular emphasis on why and how plutonium remaining in the environment poses a long-term danger.
c. Guardians will ensure that members of the group participate in and provide input in all meetings, decisions and discussions related to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
d. Efforts will be made to recruit former workers, members of the scientific community, former and current government personnel (elected and otherwise), and the general public to become members of the Nuclear Guardianship program. Guardians will build this program from the ground up, recognizing that the more involvement we get the more influence we will have at the state, local and national level.
e. The organization will provide a monthly forum for exchange of information by email or in informal meetings. This exchange will enable members to provide letters, white papers or input on important issues related to stewardship of the site, and to ensure ongoing monitoring and protection of citizens, communities and the environment. We must be able to back up what we say with pertinent documentation.
f. A distinctive pin will be designed for members to wear to all events related to the site. Members can purchase the pin. It’s a way to distinguish those who regard themselves as Guardians.
Each item in the following list presents an avenue for possible action. The list is organized according to current priorities of urgency. As we move along, these priorities are subject to change.Individuals and groups may commit to working in specific areas. Of course, other items can be added to this list.
Items of greatest current urgency:
1. Get reversal of the decision to allow public recreation at the Rocky Flats site; the site instead should be managed as open space that is closed to the public.
• Send letters to Senator Mark Udall expressing wishes of his constituents that the Rocky Flats wildlife refuge remain closed to the public.
• Recruit and organize parents, teachers, youth and all who oppose public recreation at the Rocky Flats site.
2. Stop construction of the Jefferson Parkway (proposed toll highway) along the eastern predominantly downwind side of the Rocky Flats site (this can be done by working with Go the Betterway, or CINQ [Citizens Involved in the Northwest Quadrant], on line at http://www.gothebetterway.org ).
3. Stop DOE’s plan to breach the dams of holding ponds on the Rocky Flats site, because of the likelihood that contaminants would be released into downstream communities (DOE is currently holding “Adaptive Management Plan” (AMP) meetings on this topic; to receive notices, contact Bob Darr at Bob.Darr@lm.doe.gov).
4. Support former Rocky Flats workers’ efforts to receive compensation and medical care for ailments likely due to workplace exposures to toxins (a key contact is Terrie Barrie firstname.lastname@example.org).
Items of intermediate urgency:
5. Recognize that the so-called wildlife refuge is no refuge at all; search for a more accurate descriptor.
6. Establish on the site a permanent program of periodic sampling of respirable dust in surface soil and testing of each sample for plutonium or americium content.
7. End gravel mining on the site by securing government purchase of the mineral rights.
8. Release to the public the documents that were sealed in the Denver Federal Courthouse as part of the out-of-court settlement of the case brought against Rockwell after the 1989 FBI raid on the Rocky Flats plant to collect evidence of alleged environmental lawbreaking.
Items for longer-term work:
9. Establish a permanent program to research health effects of plutonium exposure on wildlife (a research project for local universities).
10. Develop educational materials/curricula for junior high, high school, and college on the science and history of Rocky Flats.
11. Revisit the cleanup.