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Public Statements

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Restoration Advisory Board -- Hon. Ed Perlmutter

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. PERLMUTTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the members of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Restoration Advisory Board in Colorado, who are dissolving as a board this month after more than 17 years of service to the nation.

* As the primary community advisory board for the U.S. Army at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, the members have ensured that the community was informed and involved during each phase of the design, remediation and transformation of this environmental cleanup site into a premier urban national wildlife refuge. Given the importance of the task and the many years of work it required, their dedication deserves our recognition and thanks.

* Their work is particularly remarkable because of the unique role the site has played in the history and defense of our nation. The U.S. Army built the Rocky Mountain Arsenal following the attacks on Pearl Harbor to manufacture chemical weapons as a deterrent against the Axis Powers. After the war, the U.S. Army leased some of the facilities to Shell Chemical Co., which manufactured agricultural chemicals at the site. As the decades unfolded, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal played critical roles in allowing our nation to win the Cold War, put men into space and complete a historic demilitarization program.

* These achievements came at a price, however. Although the U.S. Army and Shell used accepted waste disposal methods of the time, some contamination of the structures, soil and groundwater occurred. The communities of Brighton, Commerce City and Denver, which surround the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and are represented on the Restoration Advisory Board, help forged consensus around the environmental restoration and future use of the site.

* Together with representatives from the U.S. Army, Shell Oil Co., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Tri-County Health Department, these citizens held more than 130 public meetings. They reviewed countless technical documents, shared community questions and perspectives and served as liaisons with the larger community to ensure public concerns were addressed throughout the environmental restoration program.

* They also provided critical support for the future use of the site as a national wildlife refuge once remedial actions were complete. Today, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 15,000 acres and offers habitat to more than 330 wildlife species, including American bald eagles and wild bison. Just as importantly, the refuge offers exhibits to educate visitors about the historic use and legacy of the site.

* Now that the environmental restoration and transformation of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal is complete and the board has completed its oversight role, the Restoration Advisory Board has decided to dissolve. Please join me in thanking the members for their service and in congratulating them on a job well done.

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