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Boulder County judge denies injunction for project in Rocky Flats

Rocky Flats.png
Posted at 6:04 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 20:37:59-04

BOULDER, Colo. — Miles and miles of green hills span across Rocky Flats, but it’s what’s underneath all that green that has some worried.

"The entire refuge and beyond has been dusted, finely dusted with very small particles and very, very small volumes over four decades of production out there," said former CU Boulder Profesor Harvey Nichols.

Nichols has been studying Rocky Flats sine the 1970s. It's an area where nuclear weapons were created. When it was closed, the grounds were found to be contaminated with plutonium. In recent years, health experts have said the risk to the public is very small.

"It’s all gone away. People have either forgotten about it or died off. People who are coming in don’t know the story," said Nichols.

There are still groups who remember. In May, along with Nichols, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Environmental Information Network filed an injunction to stop the City of Boulder from spending tax dollars on the Rocky Mountain Greenway Trail intended to connect the refuge to other nearby trails.

"Several of us live in superior and in Boulder and we’re concerned about what’s going on here," said Sasha Stiles.

Stiles is the Chairperson for Physicians for Social Responsibility in Colorado. One of the groups involved in the lawsuit.

"People deserve bike trails. It’s a good thing environmentally; it’s a good thing for the health of the community. I ride my bike almost every day. To use a trail going through a contaminated area it’s just not appropriate," said Stiles.

Despite Stiles and Nichols concerns, a Boulder County judge denied the injunction Tuesday morning, stating, “there is no irreparable harm” in writing a check.

"It may be that I’m a mother with children, and if given a check they can do whatever they want with it, and that’s basically what they can do. We don’t know what they’re going to do with it," said Stiles.

Dr. Stiles is worried the construction might kick up something dangerous.

"My biggest fear is that they will start excavating and the pile of dirt that they’ll excavate will be plutonium or big americium or something else. We don’t know. It’s not irreparable once you start excavating," said Stiles.

The City of Boulder would not comment on this pending litigation.