Aspen History: Protesting 1969 nuclear testing in Colorado
“Atomic blast today,” announced The Aspen Times on Sept. 4, 1969. “Project Rulison, a 40-kiloton nuclear blast set to be detonated 8442 feet underground about 60 miles northeast of Aspen, was expected to take place today in spite of three separate court fights seeking to halt or postpone the event. As a last-minute protest, a caravan of automobiles from Aspen, Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs headed for Grand Valley this morning in an effort to appeal to the 500 VIPs scheduled to watch the shot from there. Sponsored in the main by the Austral Oil Co. of Houston, Texas, the blast has been billed as an experimental shot seeking information about the production of natural gas. Thirty-five families living within nine miles of the blast scene have been evacuated and residents as far as 50 miles away have been warned of possible seismic shocks, according to the AEC. Mine workers up to 43 miles away have been asked to remain above ground and motorists on more than 100 miles of roadway were affected.”
This image shows people protesting the nuclear test at Rulison, Colorado, in September of 1969. They are carrying protest posters made by Tom Benton.