HOT WATER GETS COLD SHOULDER

By Adrienne Anderson
Denver, June 16, 2000

A recent ruling by a Denver judge sets the stage for EPA to begin to flush plutonium-contaminated Superfund site wastes into the public sewer systems, irrigate area parks with it, mix it with industrial and domestic sewage sludge, bag and sell it to unsuspecting home gardeners as "fertilizer", and spread the rest on a 50,000 acre piece of farmland the sewage district bought with public funds in Deer Trail, Colorado (east of Denver) as "beneficial biosolids", where wheat and other crops are grown and sold through the nation's commercial food supply for human consumption.

A four year citizens' investigation reveals that the site is loaded with staggering levels of nuclear wastes, which EPA has simply axed off the books as "contaminants of concern" at the massively-contaminated Lowry Landfill, which such notorious polluters as Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant (which made plutonium bomb triggers), Martin Marietta (which builds Titan missiles), Coors (which also made nuclear fuel rods for the Atomic Energy Commission in the 60's) and a host of 200 other area polluters and defense contractors used for years as their liquid radioactive and hazardous waste dump.

I filed a federal whistleblower case on this outrageous plan in 1997 when I served on the board of the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, which had secretly entered into a deal with the Lowry Landfill's owner (City and County of Denver) and Waste Management, Inc. (operator of the site) to flush this problem down the drain, unbeknownst then to the sewer plant's workers which I'd been appointed to represent, or the public at large. My whistleblower case (Anderson v. MWRD Case No. 97-SDW-7) was won at the initial stage, with a ruling that I was being harassed, threatened and discriminated against by MWRD for speaking out against this plan on behalf of the workers, appealed, and then appealed to the Administrative Review Board of the Department of Labor, who ruled in my favor that the case be reinstated and heard on the merits.

With this recent ruling, Metro Wastewater has stepped up its union-busting efforts at the sewage plant, with a history of using extortion-type tactics in efforts to force their own workers to back their plan to receive plutonium-contaminated Lowry Landfill Superfund site wastewater for several years, even though the facility is not licensed to handle nuclear waste, and its workers are not even protected by OSHA.

Metro Wastewater and its partners to the plan, including the EPA, then waged a campaign of defamation against those of us who have spoken against this outrageous plan, which has drawn 100% written opposition from citizens in comments to both EPA and the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District. All public opposition was ignored to carry out this absurd, precedent setting plan, using the EPA's controversial Section 503 Clean Water Act loophole as a means to dispose of the most dangerous wastes on the planet, including radioactive wastes hat remain deadly with half-lives of tens of thousands of years.

The Denver Judge, Steven Phillips, in response to an appeal for an injunction sought by farmers, union workers, students and other citizens here and nationally opposed to EPA's outrageous plan, has, in effect, tossed the matter to federal court for action, should the plaintiffs continue to seek court aid to block the plan. The federal court here, however, are complicit in the cover-up of major components of this, having already sealed from public view several major court decisions on matters citizens have the right to know, like which polluters have paid how much into the clean-up fund. The two federal judges to seal key rulings about Lowry Landfill -- Sherman Finesilver and Zita Weinsheink -- are also at the heart of other controversial pollution cases in Denver, where polluters got off the hook. Finesilver handled the Rocky Flats case, where a federal grand jury reportedly attempted to indict DOE and Rockwell officials as individuals and sought immunity to tell of their findings for the public good, with no success, to date. Weinsheink was the judge in a case over contaminated drinking water and associated deaths of children in the Friendly Hills neighborhood, where Weinsheink refused the bereaved families a jury trial, despite preliminary ruling confirming that the huge defense contractor had indeed contaminated their public water supply, and had even acted in a conspiracy to cover up evidence. Both Rocky Flats and the U.S. Air Force/ Martin missile factory are Superfund sites themselves, as well as contributors of highly toxic wastes to the Lowry Landfill Superfund site, southeast of Denver.

Today, developers and their political pawns in municipal and county government plan to turn the radioactive wasteland around Lowry Landfill into subdivisions and shopping centers. The Mayor of Denver, Wellington Webb - whose administration concocted this plan to simply flush a hot environmental problem down the drain - is reportedly eying a cabinet post in a future Gore Administration, who used the White House to violate the Hatch Act and solicit funds from Lowry's top polluters and contractor while looking the other way as his EPA lies left and right to the public that there is no nuclear waste contamination anywhere to be found at Lowry. And plutonium at Lowry? It didn't come from Rocky Flats, whose contractor gave thousands to the Clinton/Gore campaign and then won the biggest federal contract in U.S. history; it's "cosmic dust" that fell from the sky.

The Clinton/Gore EPA has lied to the public repeatedly, records show, more than willing to cover up a major radioactive waste dump in the U.S. for apparent political gain and the corporate dollars from the polluters who put it there, for apparent political gain.

Ralph Nader is being nominated for President at the Greens' convention in Denver this month, June 24th and 25th. I'm going to be there to see what he says about all of this, since we know where Al Gore stands.

America's radioactive waste problem?

Eat it.

Adrienne Anderson
Instructor, Environmental Studies and INVST Programs
University of Colorado at Boulder, CB 339
Boulder, Colorado 80309-0339
(303)492-2952 (voice mail message)
(303)329-0271 (fax)