Published: June 2, 2018

In late 1969, Morey Wolfson was involved with the student government at the University of Colorado at Denver. The student government received a letter from an organization called Environmental Action that was recently founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson and led by Denis Hayes. The purpose of that organization was to coordinate Environmental Teach-Ins on campuses throughout the United States on April 22, 1970, a day they dubbed as “Earth Day.” With some coercion from Wolfson, the student government decided to go ahead with the event, which was held at Currigan Hall in Denver and attracted 5,000 participants. This was the second largest Earth Day event in the U.S. Afterwards, the student government was contacted by several people wanting more environmental information. Wolfson was among the first to recognize the environmental hazard posed by the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Facility. In response, he formed the Denver area activist group, Environmental Action of Colorado (EAC).

Newspaper clippings from the Rocky Flats collections about picketing at the nuclear site. Papers from the Morey Wolfson collection concerning the Atomic West Materials from the Atomic West Collection, including government brochures on nuclear energy.

The purpose of this organization was to collect information on the Rocky Flats nuclear plant. In 1971, Wolfson founded and became the director of EAC. As a side activity of EAC, he was the owner of the Solar Energy Book Store from 1975-79. Wolfson served as executive for the Solar Heating and Cooling/Energy Conservation Conference in Denver in 1974. In 1978, he worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an air pollution specialist in Region 8 of Denver. Next, Wolfson was the executive director of the Capitol Hill Community Center in Denver from 1979 to 1981. One of the most interesting aspects to his collection is the material he copiled on Project Plowshare, a project whose purpose was to "highlight the peaceful applications of nuclear explosive devices and thereby create a climate of world opinion that is more favorable to weapons development and tests." In Colorado, two sites Rulison and Rio Blanco, generated much protest. Citizen groups voiced concerns and opposition over these Plowshare tests. There were concerns that the blast effects could dry up active wells or trigger an earthquake. There was opposition to both Rulison and Rio Blanco tests because of possible radioactive gas flaring operations and other environmental hazards. Among our Atomic West collections, Wolfson’s Papers hold the most material on Project Plowshare and these files have led to several publications.

100 stories for 100 Years logoThe University of Colorado Boulder Libraries will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Archives on June 6, 2018. This is story #95 in our series: 100 Stories for 100 Years from the Archives