|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
March 22, 2005
Sharon Rose (FWS) 303-236-4580
Lutz (DOE) 303-966-4546
INTERIOR, ENERGY DEPARTMENTS RELEASE DRAFT
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the release of a Draft Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy governing the transition of DOE’s Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site in Jefferson and Boulder Counties, Colorado, to its future as Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. The DOE will accept public comments on the draft MOU through May 20, 2005.
The purpose of the MOU is to describe how the Departments will cooperate in transferring administrative jurisdiction for certain lands within the Rocky Flats Site (Rocky Flats) from DOE to DOI and the transition of Rocky Flats from a defense nuclear facility into the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act of 2001 requires that the final MOU address the impacts that any mineral rights may have on the management of the refuge, and provide strategies for resolving or mitigating these impacts. A substantial portion of the mineral estate associated with lands at Rocky Flats is privately owned. Both DOE and DOI are concerned that the continued exercise of certain privately owned mineral rights could have an adverse impact on the management of the refuge. The draft MOU published today leaves selection of a final resolution open, while DOE and DOI continue to evaluate alternative strategies.
The Draft MOU is published in today’s Federal Register and will be available for public review for 60 days. The Draft MOU addresses the division of responsibilities and allocation of costs between DOI and DOE. In addition to addressing the impacts of private property rights on future refuge management, the MOU, to the extent possible, identifies the land that will be transferred to the Service for refuge purposes. Final demarcation of future property lines will not be possible until all cleanup decisions are made by DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Public comments on the Draft MOU may be submitted to: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management, 1000 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20585.
In 2001, Congress passed the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act, mandating that the former weapons facility’s future use would be as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the Service. The special legislation also required that DOI and DOE develop an MOU to guide the land transfer process that will occur following environmental remediation of the site by DOE.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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