Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
CONTACT: Hugh Vickery, DOI
|For Immediate Release:April 14, 2004||
Matt Kales FWS
Ruth Mecham, Army
Interior Secretary Norton to Dedicate Former Army Chemical Weapons Facility as National Wildlife Refuge
(DENVER) -- Interior Secretary Gale Norton will dedicate Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a former Army chemical weapons facility once described as the "most polluted square mile on earth," as a national wildlife refuge on April 17.
Norton, who as attorney general
of Colorado in the early 1990s successfully sued to require higher cleanup
standards at the arsenal, will be joined by Sen. Wayne Allard, Rep.
Bob Beauprez, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations
and Environment Geoffrey Prosch, EPA Deputy Administrator Steve Johnson,
Shell Oil Vice President Ray Collins company and other partners in the
clean-up of the arsenal.
"Working together, we
have transformed a vestige of the Cold War into a permanent home for
bald eagles, mule deer, white pelicans and hundreds of other species
of wildlife," Norton said. "We've also provided people a unique
area near in an urban setting to enjoy and learn about wildlife and
The April 17th ceremony will
mark the formal transfer of nearly 5,000 acres out of the 17,000 acres
of land at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal from the U.S. Army to the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the National Wildlife Refuge
System. Eventually, when the clean-up of the arsenal is complete, the
Army will transfer a total of 15,000 acres to the Service.
The 27 square-mile Rocky
Mountain Arsenal, located in Commerce City, Colorado, approximately
10 miles northeast of downtown Denver, is one of the largest cleanup
sites in the country. In 1942, RMA was built to manufacture chemical
weapons to be used in World War II as a war deterrent. In 1946, some
of the facilities were leased to private industry for the production
of industrial and agricultural chemicals. The Arsenal later became a
site for chemical agent demilitarization programs. Since 1985, the sole
mission of the Arsenal has been environmental remediation. In 1987,
RMA was listed on EPA's Superfund National Priorities List.
Currently, RMA is undergoing an extensive and safe environmental cleanup of the site's soil, structures and groundwater. Cleanup plans were developed and approved by the Army, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state of Colorado, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Shell Chemical Company. The site now provides sanctuary for nearly 300 species of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, bald eagles and white pelicans.
Who: Interior Secretary
When: Saturday, April
17th, 10:30 a.m. (Media photo opportunity with Secretary Norton at 10
Where: Rocky Mountain
Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
Selected News Releases