Jefferson County officials are now saying that they don’t want a colony of prairie dogs relocated from Longmont to Rocky Flats, the former nuclear weapons manufacturing site and now wildlife refuge.
In a letter to the County, county manager Donald Davis told consultants working with developer HSW Land that county staff “would not recommend relocation of these destructive rodent pests from Boulder County to Jefferson County.”
In the letter dated yesterday and made public today, Davis did not give a reason for recommending against the relocation.
Prairie dog advocates had worked with HSW which wants to develop land in Longmont where the colony of 200 prairie dogs lives. The only site that had been made available thus far was Rocky Flats, but last week a group of plaintiffs involved in a lawsuit to stop the site being made open to the public said they would consider legal action to stop the relocation. They are concerned that prairie dogs, which are burrowing animals would bring plutonium to the surface, which could then be dispersed in dust. Ultimately the decision on whether to allow the prairie dogs to relocate to Rocky Flats will be made by Jefferson county commissioners.
The prairie dog advocates are continuing to look for alternate sites.
Activists are gearing up for several days of protest next week to greet the national meeting of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council which will be held in Denver next Wednesday through Friday.
Caroline Fry of Colorado Common Cause, an organization that has been working to show ALEC’s influence in state legislatures around the country, says that it is a highly secretive organization with an over-arching goal of introducing business friendly legislation into states around the country, from rolling back minimum wage laws to rolling back environmental regulations.
“They’re an organization that’s been around since the ’70s. They have a 501(c)3 status with the IRS which we’ve challenged over the years, but they’re essentially an organization that brings together state legislators with corporate lobbyists and the overall mission is to create business friendly legislation, with no public input, that legislators can take home back to their home state and introduce into their general assemblies. ”
Common Cause is one of the groups hosting an ALEC teach in in Denver this Saturday. They’re also helping to organize a No to DeVos protest next Wednesday on the opening day of the ALEC meeting. Education secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to address the ALEC meeting on its opening day.
For more on these and other local news stories go to news.kgnu.org. For KGNU, I’m Maeve Conran stay tuned for the community calendar.