According to a Denver Post report, the Environmental
Protection Agency will recommend taking the Rocky Mountain Arsenal
off the Superfund National Priority List and calling it a wildlife
refuge. The controversial arsenal located outside Denver has been
a subject of protest by environmental and peace groups for many years.
In 1942 the Army created a chemical weapons complex. In subsequent
decades the site was used to make a wide range of military products.
Toxins on the site have included mustard gas, napalm, pesticides,
herbicides, sarin gas, rocket fuel and radioactive waste. One area
of the site was called, “the most contaminated square mile in the
After $2.2 billion in cleanup costs, the Defense Department
crows success, but environmentalists remain critical.
Interior Department assistant secretary, Craig Manson,
touted the refuge’s kids programs as “our best chance to let them
connect with nature.”
After an anticipated 2011 completion of a soil replacement
scheme, the refuge management plan calls for reintroduction of pronghorn
antelope. Dean Rundle, who heads the refuge project for the US Fish
and Wildlife Service hopes to see grouse and bison return. Tipping
his hand as a trophy oriented game manager, Rundle, awed by the site
of some large deer said, “It takes two things to grow those kind
of antlers: age and groceries.”
Features of the refuge are recycled weapons plant elements,
including waste lagoons now used for fishing and waterfowl habitat.
Glamorizing the relabeled site, Rundle extolled, “Leaving these man-made
wetlands and woods will show how man can increase species diversity.”