Letters | Flats denial is flat wrong


Flats denial is flat wrong

Your recent Boulder Weekly article, “Flood raises questions at Rocky Flats” (News, Oct. 10), says Scott Surovchak, the manager of the DOE portion of the Rocky Flats site, disputes claims Marco Kaltofen of the Boston Chemical Data Corp. made in a report in early 2012 giving results of soil sampling he had done for the Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center on the eastern edge of the Rocky Flats site along Indiana Street. Kaltofen reported that according to his work the plutonium levels in this area were just as high in 2012 as they were 40 years earlier, before any cleanup activity had happened at Rocky Flats. He suggested that water leaving the site as a result of the September flood was quite possibly contaminated with small quantities of plutonium. Surovchak disputed this claim, saying (according to your article) that Kaltofen’s sampling “was done with an optical rather than radiological analysis and was therefore inappropriate for determining the true levels of plutonium in surface soil.” Kaltofen responded: “The plutonium was determined by both electron backscatter and gamma spectroscopy. Both are standard methods. Neither is an optical method.” Clearly, DOE Manager Surovchak either doesn’t know what he is talking about, or he is deliberately demeaning an experienced soil sampler. Neither enables the public to trust what a DOE official says.

LeRoy Moore, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center/Boulder

Fracking causes ozone

I watched a video at the emissions testing garage that stated that ground-level ozone “can cause asthma, cancer, heart disease, emphysema, eye irritation and tightening of the chest.”

Then I read a study by NOAA and CU recently published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal. The study reported that Erie had highly elevated levels of propane in its air — “10 times the levels found in famously smoggy Pasadena, California, and four times those in Houston.” This study was able to “separate how much (volatile organic compounds) came from oil and gas and how much came from vehicles,” identifying that 55 percent of the volatile organic compounds in the ground-level ozone formation in Erie are caused by oil and gas activity (fracking).

Gordon Pierce, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment manager, warns us that “when those compounds are combined with nitrogen oxide from vehicle tailpipes and baked in sun, they form ozone. At ground level, ozone can cause breathing difficulties and eye irritations, especially among the young and elderly.”

Finally, an ozone pollution study stated that San Antonio’s ozone problem is so serious that the EPA “could designate the city a nonattainment area for ozone, a hazardous air pollutant that can cause serious respiratory problems. Ozone levels in San Antonio began rising in 2007, with the steepest increase seen around 2011, just as the Eagle Ford boom exploded.” Eagle Ford is arguably the nation’s largest oil and gas development. Preliminary numbers from this study indicate that much of the problem lies in the Eagle Ford. The data show that when San Antonio had the highest ozone levels “oil and gas development produced half of the amount of ozone-forming emissions per day as all other industrial sources combined.”

Fracking causes more ground level ozone, which is harmful to our health. Keep Lafayette’s air clean.

John C. Lamb/Lafayette