Five Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center activists will leave Saturday morning for Washington, D.C., to join with dozens of community leaders from around the country to press federal policy makers to cut nuclear weapons production and instead truly enhance global security. Savings would be directed toward cleaning up the huge and deadly legacy of contamination from nuclear bomb design, testing and manufacturing. All of these activists from Colorado and 20 other states are participating in the 30th annual “DC Days” organized by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. We will meet with leading members of Congress, committee staffers and top administration officials with responsibility for U.S. nuclear policies to press for new funding priorities.

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability is a network of local, regional and national organizations representing the concerns of communities downwind and downstream from U.S. nuclear weapons production and radioactive waste disposal sites.

Last year, a 26-year-old waiter named Reyes Ramos asked what we were doing in D.C. When we told him, he was amazed and said something unforgettable: “Now that’s a very serious subject! Why would we have something that could destroy all humanity?” That is just the point. Nuclear weapons production is destructive — of people and our environment — from the very beginning of mining uranium to the possibility of actual use in war and the resulting nuclear winter across our planet.

The current plan to “modernize” all aspects of the U.S. nuclear arsenal directly benefits primarily the private corporations that are invested in the maintenance and production of nuclear weapons. The plan antagonizes other countries who then must scramble to compete — witness North Korea and, of course, Russia, for example.

Eight miles from Boulder at Rocky Flats, 70,000 plutonium pits were manufactured. Even after “cleanup,” it is generally acknowledged that residual contamination still exists from frequent fires that spread contaminants across the metro area. We will press to keep Rocky Flats closed to the public indefinitely as we talk with legislators: no recreation, no trails (Colorado is filled with other beautiful trails), no Jefferson Parkway, federal attention and compensation for former workers and downwinders with medical problems — in the Denver area and around all of the nuclear sites and mining sites in the U.S.

The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.

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