Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rocky Flats – Still Unsafe After All These Years - Part 1

You may have heard of Rep. Wes McKinley’s "sign" bill – HB 10 – 1127 (or maybe not). He, former foreman of the Rocky Flats Grand Jury way back in 1992, he of the “standing on the courthouse steps about to defy the Federal government” infamy, he, still now gagged as to the Grand Jury testimony he himself heard, but of which he may never speak, he, Rep. Wes McKinley, puts forward a bill every year calling for the now-renamed Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge to have a sign warning people of the potential danger they might be exposed to if they go on the site. You know, a “this coffee is hot” warning, but this time about something you can’t see, hear, smell, taste or feel; the deadly scourge of plutonium, which lingers on.

Lingers on in the form of 14 pounds of it still buried (below 6 feet) at Rocky Flats, subject to the soil churning that goes on naturally from prairie dogs, snakes, mice, worms, ants and other critters that work the top 16 feet of soil. Lingers on in the form of a “talcum powder fine” plutonium dust that blows in the wind from time to time in the foothills, one invisible particle away from your lungs and permanent attachment.

Ok, so Rep. Wes won’t give up. People joke about his “sign” bill, but he doesn’t care. He ran for office to address this issue in the first place, and he’s now running for his fourth term, and he’s not about to quit – ever. Last time around he got 76% of the vote.

So this time around the “sign” bill got more attention than usual. McKinley assembled a passel of witnesses to testify before the Committee. And testify they did: scientists, Ph.D.s, nuclear workers, and even the lead FBI agent – Jon Lipsky – from Operation Desert Glow, the 1989, one-of-a-kind ever, raid of one federal agency by another.

As a result, I ended up with more than 7 hours of videotape. After reviewing it I realized its importance as an historical record. I’m going to be “depositing” it on YouTube, unfortunately limited by their 10-min maximum, but putting it all up none the less in multiple parts.

At the hearing there was talk of the US Fish and Wildlife Department’s not being able to open the Refuge for at least another 15 years. So when the Committee voted to “table indefinitely” it seemed like case closed on the “sign” bill.

But I want to make sure that there is a record of what was said in 2010, spoken by the individuals themselves, because 15 years is nothing to the likes of plutonium-239, what with its half-life of 24,100 years.

So without further delay, here’s Judy.


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