Letter: Colorado’s long history of exposing citizens to dangerous conditions | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Colorado’s long history of exposing citizens to dangerous conditions

Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMD became a common term during the Iraq war from March 19, 2003, until Dec. 18, 2011, when the last convoy of American troops left Iraq. However, WMD are nothing new, since weaponized poison gas has been in use since World War 1.

During the Cold War between 1945 and 1991, the U.S. built up a stockpile of more than 20,000 nuclear warheads while the Russians built about 30,000. The widespread proliferation of nuclear materials throughout the world has led Americans to worry about small groups of terrorists procuring and detonating a nuclear bomb in a major U.S. city. President Obama is working to fully secure all nuclear and radiological material while he removes Syria’s sarin gas being used in their civil war.

Colorado has played a major role in America’s WMD program. There are 33 uranium mines in Colorado that are now dormant but will require massive cleanup. The U.S. Department of Energy wants to continue a currently suspended program involving 25,000 acres of uranium lease tracts in Mesa, Montrose and San Miguel counties, according to a final environmental impact statement the agency released March 21.

Kristen Iversen documented the carcinogenic plutonium plant fabricating nuclear “triggers” at Rock Flats near Boulder in “Full Body Burden.” Weapons production ended there after FBI agents raided the plant in 1989. Its operators pleaded guilty to criminal violations of environmental law.

From 1953 to 1957, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver was the “Free World’s” largest producer of sarin, a nerve agent developed by Nazi scientists that is so deadly, a drop could kill a man in half a minute. The arsenal filled munitions with the chemical nerve agent until the late 1960s.

The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that our dependency on hydrocarbons is unequivocally warming the climate system with dire and unknown consequences. Even with this IPCC warning, Colorado is planning to drill and frack even more, especially where our children and grandchildren live and breathe. Colorado leadership continues a long history of exposing its citizens and children to dangerous conditions.

Tom Rutledge

Glenwood Springs

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