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Former Rocky Flats workers reunite after federal court motion filed to stop wildlife refuge opening

Federal programs offered for radiation illnesses
Posted at 2:19 PM, Jun 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-02 19:28:29-04

DENVER -- Workers at a former Colorado nuclear weapons plant reunited in Denver Saturday as part of an event that sought to educate workers about federal programs, including EEOICPA benefits, for those diagnosed with illnesses from radiation exposure during their time working at the plant.

This comes just after the top public health chief in Jefferson County filed a federal court motion this past week.

Dr. Mark Johnson believes it is "unwise" to open a portion of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge to members of the public for recreation this summer. Dr. Johnson filed paperwork requesting an assessment to prove there is no plutonium contamination on the land of the former nuclear weapons trigger plant.

In early May 2018, activists filed a lawsuit to block construction of new trails and a visitor center at the wildlife refuge. This area is off Highway 93 in Jefferson County. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 16 miles of trails will be available for use early this summer.

Those against this plan said a required analysis of environmental risks was not completed, stating plutonium and other hazardous materials are at the site and pose risks to people who plan to hike, bike or ride horses there.

This is not the first challenge Rocky Flats has faced. Several groups also filed suit in May 2017 in an attempt to block the site from opening to the public. The big concern again being visitors exposed to plutonium levels from the former plant, but the United States Environmental Protection Agency declared the land safe.

The Rocky Flats Stewardship Council Board of Directors will meet Monday, June 4. The council provides ongoing local government and community oversight of the post-closure management of Rocky Flats.