WASHINGTON, February 2 (Sputnik) — Lani Malmberg, who holds a Masters degree in weed sciences, is also the owner of a goat-based weed control company. She explained that it’s risky to burn land that’s been exposed to toxic metals, and that allowing her goats to graze there to control brush in the area would be safer.
"I am a scientist and my animals are my tools, so I can't allow them to be hurt and I'm not afraid to work there and I never have been," Malmberg told the Daily Camera. "As a scientist and a wise person, it's insane to burn that [the land]."
Before the refuge was established in 2006, the land was used as a nuclear weapons site.The weapons facility closed in 2005, which was followed by a $7 billion dollar cleanup. However, Boulder’s Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center noted that a controlled burn there may still send plutonium into the air.
"I have been called several times over the years about coming to Rocky Flats to work, and I have been called by everybody except those who manage Rocky Flats," Malmberg told the Daily Camera.
John Bryan, a spokesman for the regional Fish and Wildlife Service office in Denver, said that the agency’s position does not currently include the possibility of grazing due to fencing and staff restrictions.
However, according to the Daily Camera, Bryan said the position may change in an upcoming meeting to discuss the possibility of burning.
On January 20, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment delivered a permit for burning the “South Woman Creek” area in the refuge near a housing development complex.
Boulder City Councilwoman Liza Morzell addressed concerns that grazing animals would need to be euthanized, something that has sparked fears of protests from animal rights groups.
"Why would you have to euthanize them?" Morzell asked. "They are not used for milk or meat, they are used for grazing. And the individual that owns these goats is able to make a sufficient income that way. They are not intended for dairy or for meat."