Stop I-70 Expansion poster

August 17, 2009

stop i70 expansion


Denver Federal Center workers demand answers about radioactive waste

Heidi Hemmat KDVR Investigative Reporter

July 29, 2009

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Would you want to dig up dirt at a former nuclear waste site? That’s what construction crews at the Denver Federal Center site in Lakewood have been doing for the past year.

But what’s worse, some workers tell FOX 31 that they never knew about the radioactive history until they saw our story on the news.

“We were told there was asbestos and lead at the site,” says one worker who wants to remain anonymous.

He says when he and his co-workers learned that lead and asbestos were not the only danger, they became concerned for their health. Health department records show the site was a burial ground for nuclear waste and the soil is also contaminated with Uranium, Arsenic, Beryllium, and other toxic metals.

But that’s not the only grounds for concern. Underneath it all, there is a plume of radioactive groundwater which is also laden with the cancer-causing chemical TCE.

“When we dig holes out there -the water table is so high, we often end up knee deep in groundwater,” says another worker.

Workers were told there would be a “safety meeting” to address their concerns Wednesday. Instead, Saint Anthony hospital officials held a “topping off party” to celebrate a construction milestone at the Federal Center site where the new hospital is being built, along with a new RTD Light Rail center and eventually homes and businesses.

The superintendent of the project, Kevin Fone, told us there was no scheduled safety meeting for Wednesday.

When asked why the workers were never told about all the contamination at the site, he told us to contact their corporate office.

A man who escorted us off the property assured us he would forward our contact information to someone who could answer our questions.

We never received any calls.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment maintains the federal center site is safe.,0,5401565.story

How is this related to I-70 expansion?

The government’s own Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) estimates that I-70 expansion construction would disturb over 100 acres of hazardous materials sites where arsenic, lead, and cadmium are stored. It would stir up poisons that threaten workers and community residents’ health.

No to environmental pollution, no to I-70 expansion!

Construction at Denver Federal Center stirs up poisons

Construction at Denver Federal Center stirs up poisons

Fox 31

It is home to Colorado’s only Nuclear reactor, radioactive waste was buried there, the groundwater is toxic, and the soil is contaminated with Arsenic, Uranium, Beryllium, Asbestos and explosives.

But the Denver Federal Center site won’t be fenced off for long. It will soon be heavily used be the public.

Follow the link to the full story.

The poisons, carcinogens, and radioactive materials being stirred up threaten the workers as well as community residents.

The radioactive waste… was buried on site for years. The explosives and other toxins date back to an ammunition plant that was built there in 1940’s. The asbestos was left behind when old buildings were demolished and buried on site.

And underneath it all, a plume of water contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical, TCE.

Story from the Denver Post:

Crews are slated to arrive today in south Globeville to begin the final removal of arsenic contamination from 32 properties left by the former Globe smeltering facility.

Some residents of the northeast Denver neighborhood, who have fought for years to have their properties cleaned up, remain skeptical that the work will begin.

After all, it has been 12 years since the lawsuit against Asarco Co., which operated the Globe smeltering plant, was filed. And it has been years since hundreds of their neighbors whose yards measured higher levels of toxic contamination had their lots scrubbed.

The Globeville neighborhood is in north Denver near Elyria and Swansea, and part of the area that I-70 expansion is slated to devastate.

These low-income communities of mostly people of color have been plagued by environmental pollution for decades. The arsenic from the Globe smeltering plant is only the tip of the iceberg.

Story at

The Colorado Department of Transportation has estimated any fix to the I-70 corridor from Denver to Grand Junction could cost upwards of $8 billion. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce says congestion between the two cities costs the state more than $830 million in lost productivity each year.

Earlier estimates offered by Stop I-70 Expansion were based on the costs just in North Denver, and were less than $2 billion. This estimate more than quadruples what we’d stated as the financial cost of I-70 expansion.

The full cost of I-70 is not merely financial, however.  Its most devastating impacts will be on communities, homes, our lives.

Stop I-70 Expansion!

Stop I-70 Poster

June 17, 2009

I-70 Destroys

original post May 28, 2009 at Colorado Indymedia

High Country EarthFirst! kicked off its campaign to stop the Interstate 70 expansion in Denver. A banner over the Colorado Blvd overpass, “Stop I-70 Expansion”, was dropped by EF!ers on 5/26/09 during afternoon rush hour traffic. HCEF! is calling for an immediate cancelling of all plans by the Colorado Department of Transportation to expand capacity or build a permanent detour of I-70 through north Denver.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has decided to expand Interstate 70, the main east/west freeway through Denver, from its intersection with I-25 to Quebec street. There are two main proposals being considered by CDOT. The first would expand the current viaduct from six to ten lanes and keep I-70 in its current location. The second proposal, and the one favored by the power brokers in Denver, is to reroute (detour) I-70 north from its intersection with I-25 along the Platte river/Brighton boulevard area, and then connect up with highway 270 to where in reconnects with the current I-70 path at Quebec street. This expansion/detour would be eight lanes and add roughly 2 miles to the length of I-70 through this section. The cost for these proposals ranges from 1.25 to 2 billion dollars. Either expansion would gut the neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea, and increase air pollution in other North Denver neighborhoods. These plans are discussed in detail in the Environmental Impact Statement which can be found at

It is no accident that when I-70 was built it was routed through low-income neighborhoods of color; the expansion is no different. CDOT’s main proposal would demolish over 50 homes, displace more than 50 employers (including the Denver Coliseum and the National Stock Show which employ many local residents, and one of two grocers in the area), and bring increased air pollution (a minimum additional 440,000 vehicle miles a day) to an area already plagued by dozens of major polluters, including the Xcel Cherokee Coal Power Plant and the SunCor Oil Refinery. The expansion would also destroy over 300 acres of habitat to mule deer, white tail deer, bald eagle wintering grounds, prairie dog homes, and destroy much of the remaining green space in the area. The I-70 permanent detour will drastically increase gasoline consumption by 6 million gallons per year in a time of dwindiling supplies and the global climate crisis, as well as worsening air quality for all denver residents.

CDOT hopes that the expansion of I-70 would not just reduce traffic congestion along the immediate route but also increase cross-country trucking through the area (and thereby increasing congestion). Currently, truckers avoid traveling through Denver because of the frequent delays along this stretch of highway causing millions in extra costs annually; expansion would supposedly alleviate congestion and increase the speed for through-truckers. This would bring even more air pollution and risk as hazardous waste is shipped through Denver, getting on and off the Interstate to stop at truck stops and diners. Expansion would also fuel the growth of the suburbs east of Denver, completely unsustainable development that does ecological and economic damage.

The I-70 expansion is part of the greater picture, one where poor people and communities of color are systemically oppressed by the state for the continued privilege of white people and the wealthy. Infrastructure expansion doesn’t meet the needs of underserved communities and only furthers their destruction. The I-70 expansion is no different; a low income community of color would be disrupted and displaced to serve the needs of a capitalist white supremacy. EF! is committed to bio-centracism and deep ecology, beliefs grounded in the fact that no life and no ecosystem is more important than another. We believe that this applies not just to ecosystems and animals, but should apply to all humans and communities. HCEF!D stands in solidarity with all people struggling for self-determination, and we work to abolish these oppressive systems to achieve universal liberation.

If you are interested in getting involved with HCEF!D, please email to find out ways for you to participate.

Stop I-70 Expansion!
High Country EarthFirst!