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The Rocky Flats Horror Show

September 05, 1993

I read "Showdown at Rocky Flats" (by Barry Siegel, Aug. 8 and 15) with much abhorrence. It is disgusting when the government creates laws and then holds itself above them. What makes Rocky Flats infuriating, however, is that Rockwell senior managers have been able to hide behind that same veil of arrogance and claim absolution from their crimes.

Are the citizens of this country to remain victims of the tyranny of such high-powered commerce? Though I may feel powerless to challenge such corruption myself, someone must. Our government is out of control and it is now apparent it can't be trusted to police itself.


Lake Forest


During the summer of 1972, while a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant at Colorado State University, I decided to focus my research paper on the Rocky Flats facilities.

Although I was continually advised that the disposal of hazardous nuclear waste was not a problem, I did hear that a "small" number of employees had been seriously injured by atomic waste "accidents."

In addition, I heard that early atomic waste had been stored underground in steel drums near Woman Creek. The area was then covered with asphalt and became the parking lot for the employees. Management assured me that accidents could not occur, since the drums were then being encased in cement, which would prevent leakage.

When I was told that no governmental agency or official cared to investigate the problems of Rocky Flats, I naively decided to check that out myself. Shockingly, neither the Atomic Energy Commission nor any elected official in either Colorado or California seemed interested in taking any kind of positive approach.




My next-door neighbor used to work at Rocky Flats. He's quite sick now; his wife says he has "plutonium in his fingers." Why should this man buy Justice Department "culture arguments" that allow Department of Energy programs to remain above the law and be unaccountable?

Assistant U.S. Atty. Ken Fimberg asks how he could be "the bad guy" in the Rocky Flats situation?

First, he allowed "the culture" of the Department of Energy to take precedence over both his statutory duty and the code of ethics for federal workers; the code provides that any person in government should "put loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to person, party or government department."

He also allowed bad managers in high positions in the Department of Justice to foist off on the public more than $1 billion in decontamination costs and leave Rockwell with less than 1% of the costs to pay.




The message behind the Rocky Flats story is that we are now living with Orwellian doublespeak, with a government whose various department titles appear to be misnomers.

There's the Department of Justice, where "the core agenda involved attacking civil rights gains . . . abortion rights . . . and reining in the enforcement of environmental criminal laws." And the Department of Energy, whose main function has been the creation of weapons (remember the Peacekeeper?).

Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency appears to have done a better job of protecting the Department of Energy than the environment.


Aliso Viejo

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