A brief synopsis of Acid Reign
As the uranium boom took off in the 1950’s, the Argentine Acid Plant was quickly assembled on the edge of a nine thousand foot peak just above the town of Rico, Colorado. The plant took in iron pyrite and delivered sulfuric acid to the AEC mill in Uravan, CO. There it was used to produce weapons-grade uranium.
Thus, the Cold War ramped up on the Colorado Plateau.
When Johnny and Roy, two roughnecks from the coal camps of West Virginia, came to work, the Dolores River had a phosphorus glow and acid fumes blanketed the town. The plant produced a hundred tons of acid a day, a sure fire money-maker, but well beyond its rated capacity. Safety and maintenance were ignored as pollution belched from its stacks and toxic tailing ponds drained into the river.
Long before the Clean Air and Water Acts were enforced, Johnny, Roy and a handful of concerned citizens formed the Rico Coalition warning the Acid Plant…“clean her up or we’ll shut her down!”
Acid Reign chronicles one of the first uprisings of Eco-Outlaws in the High Country. Could they stop the pollution? Could justice be served when the corporate outlaws had the upper hand?
A few quotes describing the setting of Acid Reign
Frontier justice was in full bloom on the Colorado Plateau during the Cold War. The Atomic Energy Commission did their outlawing under the banner of national security.
Dr. Andrew Gulliford
Professor of History and Environmental Studies
Fort Lewis College, CO
One thousand five hundred and ninety-five Caucasian and Navajo uranium miners died from various lung diseases on the Colorado Plateau.
NIOSH Uranium Miner’s Heath Study, concluded in 2000
For the last two weeks sulfuric acid leaking from the acid plant has been extremely bad. Early Saturday morning it was so dense you couldn’t see across the street.
Dolores Star, July 24, 1959