Denver Direct: Round Robin – From the Elyria/Globeville Trenches

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Round Robin – From the Elyria/Globeville Trenches

by Tom Anthony

Lisa Bardwell is Judy Montero’s campaign treasurer. Judy and Region 8 EPA recently brokered a deal where Opus Northwest, the group that built and owns the new “green” office building that houses Region 8 near Union Station, and rents it to the EPA through the Federal GSA, was “sold” the ASARCO smelter site, 85 acres in Globeville, for $1. Fearing a potential bankruptcy, the Department of Justice forced ASARCO to set up a $100 million trust to cover liabilities for impacted U.S. communities. Opus agreed to take over the liability from the toxic waste at the site, which includes toxic sludge beneath Heron Pond and Heron Pond Open Space containing lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, which is expected to remain there in the South Platte River watershed forever.

The liability agreement with Opus Northwest allowed Region 8 EPA to release a portion of the $100 million bond which had been posted by ASARCO for other activities, which appear to include grants to Earth Force, Inc. a non-profit run by Councilwoman Montero’s campaign treasurer. Surprisingly, the Globeville Civic Association #1 recently got a new website, although after Fr. Joe and Paulette Hirsch both died suddenly last year the entire Association was incommunicado for months. A petition by local residents to extend the comment period on the VB-I70 OU3 Record of Decision, which allowed an unremediated and uncompensated arsenic plume beneath homes on Grant, Sherman and Pearl Streets and beneath Argo Park was not supported by Globeville Civic #1 or Councilwoman Montero.

Earth Force/Lisa Bardwell also received a $40,000 Supplemental Environmental Program (SEP) grant from Suncor Refinery in 2006, which had been seeking to expand the refinery capacity to 90,000 bbls/day. The expansion was approved on the northern boundary of Judy Montero’s District 9 neighborhood, Swansea, which had been the subject of a 2004 Cancer Study showing 8 elevated cancers.

The ASARCO site, which borders Globeville Townhomes, and surrounding area was zoned industrial in the New Denver Zoning plan approved by Councilwoman Montero in June, contrary to several stipulations of Blueprint Denver and the 2000 Comprehensive Plan, and with virtually no neighborhood agreement.

Obviously, Opus Northwest wouldn’t want any actual residents near the future North Metro commuter rail station at 48th and Brighton Blvd to actually ask why Heron Pond is off-limits to virtually all human activity. Like the animals, they’re not supposed to know.

Tom Anthony, President
United Community Action Network, Inc.