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Deadly chemicals confirmed to be present on FDR 128 in Roosevelt National Forest

Saturday, April 22nd - Residents Brace For More Chemical Contamination...

Residents on Storm Mountain are bracing for yet another round of arsenic and other chemical contamination, as the annual futile attempt at dust control on FDR 128 is scheduled to begin in the next couple weeks.  

Chemicals mixed with recycled asphalt in attempts to control dust on FDR 128 are confirmed to have released extremely high amounts of arsenic, barium and chromium in 2004 and 2005. The short term result of these chemicals being released was the confirmed deaths of many mature trees and shrubs, a black Labrador retriever and approximately 700 fish in the Big Thompson River. The long term results from the release of these toxic chemicals are unknown at this time.

Despite the many animal and plant deaths directly related to the chemicals, the National Forest Service has again authorized the use of these toxins on FDR 128. Larimer County Health Department Officials refuse to investigate the issue even though several residents are complaining of health and medical problems that they, and their physicians, believe to be a direct result of exposure to these toxic chemicals.

Another major fear which is now becoming more valid is the transmission of these toxins through the air and groundwater. A former USGS geologist specializing in Hydrology, who asked to remain anonymous at this time, was recently questioned about the possibility of groundwater contamination from chemicals applied to FDR 128. His response was quote, "There is an extremely high likelihood of groundwater contamination due to the vertical foliation of the numerous fractures predominant along and below the road and throughout the general area."  

A study on the migration of dust suppressant chemicals prepared by the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory Biological and Geological Sciences Department for the United States Atomic Energy Commission and released in 2003 clearly indicates a high probability of airborne chemical particulates traveling far from the source and an area of major concern in any chemical application to an unpaved road. The study also warns against the use of these chemicals in an area of geologic fracturing due to the high potential for leaching and groundwater contamination. This is apparently an irrelevant study to both Larimer County Health Officials and the National Forest Service who see no problems in doing the exact things this study warns against.

Several area residents have also been questioning the metallic taste (a property of arsenic, barium and chromium) now present in their well water. Again however, the County refuses to do any proper testing stating that it is too costly. No proper testing of groundwater quality and/or air quality has ever been done despite the numerous complaints. To date absolutely no geologic studies or environmental impact studies have been done on the use of these chemicals making area residents in effect, Guinea Pigs. It has become quite obvious that in the opinion of Larimer County Health Officials and the National Forest Service, the luxury of less dust on residents cars far outweighs any environmental damage or health problems caused from the chemicals.

Below is a link to the full United States Atomic Energy Commission report referenced above on the use of magnesium chloride as a dust suppressant on unpaved roads, as well as a similar study released in March of 2003 by the US EPA, through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, performed by an organized Expert Panel to evaluate potential environmental impacts of chemicals/materials used as dust suppressants on roads, developing properties and other areas.

Fate of Magnesium Chloride Brine Applied to
Suppress Dust from Unpaved Roads at the INEEL
Subsurface Disposal Area

Evaluation of the Potential Water Quality
Impacts of Dust Suppressants

Editor's Note: In light of the overwhelming evidence of harm being done and the potential long term problems from the use of these hazardous chemical mixtures, one would think that the residents themselves would be outraged as it is indeed their money that is paying for the deadly chemicals that are being released in their own backyards. 

FDR 128 should layered with heavy gravel aggregate and not recycled asphalt road base to begin with. Heavy gravel remains in place far longer and does not have the dust problems inherent with road base mixtures. The use of heavy gravel would also completely eliminate any need for chemical dust suppressants. If FDR 128 were maintained properly in this fashion we would have no toxic chemicals released, no threat to health or environment and a much more durable road surface. We pay County road taxes and this is a County road, LCR 41H. Larimer County Sheriffs issue citations and patrol the road. So why is it that the County has no responsibility in maintaining the road?

One has to also question why no testing has been done on the air quality and the presence of airborne chemicals migrating from the road or the effect of exposure to these airborne chemicals on humans. It is also questionable as to why no geologic or environmental studies have been done to evaluate the chemicals' use in this type of setting. It does not take a rocket scientist to see the damage being done and the clear signs of long term problems to health and environment. So why is it that no official entity will do any testing? Most likely this is because they already know the outcome of such tests and the serious liabilities that they will face by acknowledging the problem. This appears to be another case of ignore it and it will just go away. Unfortunately for the residents, animals and the environment these chemicals do not simply just go away. They remain for decades killing the entire time.

Eventually the true facts regarding the full extent and danger of this chemical contamination will come out. This is inevitable as the arsenic and other toxins spread further into the local waters, pets and livestock die and as more area residents become sick from chemical exposure. As some residents are already in possession of documents confirming their concerns and fears, it will be very interesting to see how local officials explain their reckless lack of concern and action in the face of these undisputable facts to a Federal Judge when they are faced with a Federal lawsuit, which is also as inevitable as the spread of the chemicals themselves. 

Until that time residents and visitors on Storm Mountain will continue breathing in air and drinking water that is most likely already tainted with arsenic and other deadly toxins. 

Happy Earth Day - Enjoy Your National Forest!

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Gas prices in Estes Park on Thurday afternoon.

Gas prices in Estes Park on
Thursday afternoon. 

Friday, April 21st - Fuel Prices Continue Upward...

Local fuel prices are continuing upward with steady increases almost daily, with a gallon of regular unleaded ranging from $2.64 in Loveland to $2.89 in Estes Park on Thursday afternoon. 

With no relief in sight prices are expected to continue increasing with $4.00 a gallon by Memorial Day expected. Some East Coast and West Coast stations have already topped the $4.00/gal mark.

A proposal to reduce Colorado gas prices at the pumps by temporarily eliminating the State's fuel surcharge was shot down on Wednesday. It was decided that the small amount of savings to the average consumer would not justify the loss of funding to State road projects.

With tourism being the major industry in the area, some business owners fear that further increases in fuel prices will adversely effect tourist travel this season. This could be a devastating blow to our area economy.

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Red flag Warning this afternoon

Red Flag Warning This Afternoon 

Monday, April 17th - Red Flag Warning This Afternoon...

The National Weather Service in Denver has issued a Red Flag Warning for the front range foothills, including the Drake, Glen Haven and Storm Mountain areas, from noon until 9PM MDT tonight.

Warm, dry conditions are expected to continue through this evening. Moderate winds will add to the fire danger across our area. The forecast fire condition information for today is below:



MIN HUMIDITY........15-23%. 




A cold front is expected to arrive later this evening bringing cooler temperatures and much needed precipitation to the area. However, a return to warm, dry weather is expected by Wednesday.

The complete text of this official Red Flag Warning is available via the link provided below.

"Red Flag Warning"

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Pasque Flowers on Wednesday afternoon

Pasque Flowers on Wednesday afternoon 

Sunday, April 16th - Photo Of The Week...

Each year around Easter,  Pasque Flowers like the ones featured here in our photo of the week begin to bloom throughout our area, heralding the start of our Spring season.

The Pasque Flower (Anemone patens) is one of the first area wildflowers to bloom in the Spring and is often seen pushing up through the snow. The Pasque flower has several stems that rise 6-8 inches off the ground. On each stem is one flower with 5-8 petals. The range of color in the petals is from dark lavender to almost white. In the center of the flower are yellow stamens. Below the flower, around the stem is a leaf covered in silky hairs, as is the rest of the plant.

Pasque Flowers are found in many areas in the tundra. The plant only grows on southward facing slopes and is common throughout northwestern U.S. up to northern Alaska. 

The Pasque Flower is also the state flower of South Dakota and is popular in many home gardens. It likes well-drained, sandy, and gravelly soils as well as roadsides. Like all tundra plants, the Pasque Flower grows low to the ground to keep out of the cold climate and is covered in fine silky hairs, which help insulate it.

The Pasque Flower is also used in the treatment of eye diseases like cataracts, which is opacity on the lens of the eye, that can cause partial or complete blindness.

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2006 Storm Mountain News