Lawmakers approve plan to require Rocky Flats warnings |

Lawmakers approve plan to require Rocky Flats warnings

DENVER (AP) Visitors to the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant would be required to be provided information on what happened there and the hazards of radiation under a measure given preliminary approval Monday.The original plan would have required visitors to sign consent forms before visiting the site.David Abelson, executive director of the Rocky Flats Coalition of Local Governments, representing government officials from communities near the plant, said requiring the state to issue warnings to visitors would jeopardize the sites planned designation as a wildlife refuge.The warnings were sought by Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, who led a grand jury investigation of the former weapons plant.McKinley said federal officials have lied about the potential danger of radioactive waste at the former site.McKinley was the foreman of a 1992 federal grand jury that tried to indict private and federal officials over contamination at the site, but prosecutors settled the case with plea bargains.The House Health & Human Services Committee approved the amended bill on a 7-6 vote.Abelson said the conversion for nuclear weapons plant to wildlife refuge requires the site be cleaned up, and the warnings would be an admission that the effort had failed.We simply reject that notion, he said.Federal officials plan to allow hiking, cycling, horseback riding and other activities on 16 miles of trails at Rocky Flats once it is converted to a refuge by 2008.A $7 billion cleanup of the 6,420-acre site west of Denver is scheduled to be complete in 2006. Rocky Flats made plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads until 1992, when it was shut down because of safety concerns and because of the end of the Cold War.

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