ecoglobe [yinyang] news (10 October 1999)

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Toxic Sludge in the USA


    Dear Sludge Activists, Reporters, Concerned Congressional Representatives and Other Victims and Future Victims of EPA's "Toxic Waste as Fertilizer" Policy:

    As this week's Augusta Chronicle reports, Congressional pressure is building against EPA's ruse to foist toxic waste onto the nation's farm lands and onto our dinner plates. As this article so well discusses, the EPA National Ombudsman has agreed to take on this Georgia sludge case, and is currently investigating the case in Denver where EPA decided to let a mountain of radioactive waste remain entombed in a central Denver working class neighborhood. Secret EPA documents recently released after a Senator Allard's intervention show that instead of pursuing safer remedy options, EPA caved to pressure from the polluter (Shattuck Chemical, which processed uranium and other radioactive materials received from DOE's Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky, new evidence reveals) to do the cheapest thing, despite looming public health risks.

    What is not reported in this article is that Shattuck in Denver also sent waste to the Lowry Landfill southeast of Denver, where EPA continues in its plan --despite widespread grassroots citizens' opposition -- to pump the Superfund Site's groundwaters for the next 30-50 years into the public sewer lines to the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District POTW in Denver (on the South Platte River). From there, sludge is trucked east on I-70 to a "farm" in the rural community of Deer Trail, where it is to join wastes from other "recycled" Denver-area Superfund sites, in mixture with other industrial and domestic wastes as "fertilizer". Wheat crops grown on this have been sold to the Cargill food conglomerate in the past, and Metro Wastewater board of directors' minutes suggest that they seek to market their wheat for commercial sale with an end-use as "specialty baked goods".

    An investigation of EPA records in the Denver office shockingly revealed that the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site also contains PLUTONIUM, RADIUM, URANIUM, STRONTIUM-90, AMERICIUM, RADIOACTIVE LEAD and TWENTY OTHER RADIONUCLIDES. Yet instead of this being a DOE Mixed radwaste and hazardous waste clean-up site, EPA is quickly trying to pump it all down the drain (and ultimately into our food supply and into our bodies). In what we believe to be criminal acts on the part of EPA here, they simply deleted all the radionuclides off the list of known contaminants at the site.

    We have sent petitions bearing 7,000 signatures to EPA Ombudsman Bob Martin seeking his office's involvement in this outrageous, and clearly nationally and internationally precedent-setting case. Yet the same Colorado Senators and Congressional Representatives (Senator Wayne Allard and Congresswoman Diana DeGette)that have asked for the Ombudsman's Office's intervention in the Shattuck case in central Denver are looking the other way, to date, regarding the Lowry "PLUTONIUM TO YOUR DINNER PLATE" plan by the same EPA officials who caved to the polluters in the Shattuck case.

    We demanded an investigation of suspected criminal actions by EPA by its Office of Inspector General. The Criminal IG division deferred the evidence we presented to the OIG's Audit division for review. A report was expected by last month, but has not surfaced, to date. Furthermore, an EPA whistleblower from this same Region VIII EPA Office (Brian Rimar), presented evidence in his proceedings regarding the OIG's office making false allegations against him, and investigating HIM while he sought justice against EPA for trying to muzzle his scientific findings in the Summitville Superfund Site case in Colorado. So it remains unclear whether this review will be credible, especially under these circumstances.

    As many of you know, I was on the Metro Wastewater Board of Directors and attempted to block and unravel this outrageous plan while on the board, and wound up having to file a federal whistleblower suit against the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, on behalf of the sewage plant's workers I was appointed to represent. While successful at the first level - with the Department of Labor ordering Metro Wastewater to rescind threir threatening and discriminatory letters undermining our rights, Metro Wastewater appealed, I appealed again (represented by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers' Union's local president, which represents Metro Wastewater's lab workers), and the case has since sat idle on the shelf in Washington, D.C. of the Clinton Administration's Department of Labor Administrative Review Board for over a year and a half (Anderson v. MWRD).

    Concerned citizens may assist:

    * Ask any supportive Congressional representatives to urge that the EPA Ombudsman's Office's present inquiry into the Shattuck Superfund Site in Denver be extended to review EPA's Lowry Landfill plan, which would fertilize crops for national distribution with Atomic Energy Commission and DOE wastes, including wastes from AEC contractors and/or licensees Shattuck, the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant. Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) and others, as well as DOD wastes from the Army's notorious Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and other DOD Superfund Sites in the region. While we officially reiterated this request to Martin and Kaufman during a September hearing in Denver on the Shattuck case, our own Colorado Congressional delegation is stonewalling us. Could their silence and failure to act be due to hefty campaign contributions from Coors and other Lowry Landfill responsible parties and CH2MHill, a major contractor at both Rocky Flats and Lowry Landfill, despite a clear conflict of interest?

    *Re-distribute this e-mail to all interested people for their information and action.

    More to follow.

    Thank you.

    Adrienne Anderson Environmental Studies University of Colorado at Boulder Boulder, Colorado 80309-0339 phone: (303)492-2952; fax (303)329-0217 e-mail:

[Information received from Fri Oct 8 1999 listserve]

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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (10 October 1999)

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