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Adrienne Anderson collection of student papers

Identifier: COU:49

Scope and Contents

The Adrienne Anderson Collection of Student Papers includes student materials from Environmental Science course, “Race, Class, and Pollution Politics,” (ENVS 3003), taught by Anderson. Student research and reports include environmental and sociological topics about Front Range area corporations and EPA superfund sites.


  • 1993 - 2005

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical / Historical

Adrienne Anderson was born on February 10th, 1952 and died September 7, 2011. She grew up in Texas and received her BA in Sociology from Southern Methodist University and her MA in Environmental Sociology from the University of Oregon. In 2005, she was awarded the very first Edward Abbey award for support of the environment. She was a longtime environmental activist who worked with labor unions, low income and other neighborhoods affected by industrial pollution, Denver neighborhood associations, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, and a host of organizations on behalf of environmental justice. Adrienne worked with many environmental organizations in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon. Her projects ranged from improving services provided by electrical utilities to rural communities, to protecting Pinon Canyon from encroachments by the US military, and to fighting contamination of farmlands, watersheds, city parks and lakes with toxic and radioactive wastes. As an activist with the Toxic Alliance Campaign when she came to Colorado, she helped to publicize the failure to truly protect workers from plutonium contamination, and the subsequent failed clean-up of the remains of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant. Her most celebrated campaigns began with the Friendly Hills neighborhood in Southwest Denver. Unusually high cancer rates were discovered there near the Martin Marietta plant, especially among young children. Cancers were associated with Martin Marietta’s practice of pumping effluent from production of rocket fuel into aquifers and pipelines serving the area’s water supply. After being appointed by Mayor Wellington Webb to the Denver Metro Wastewater Reclamation District Board specifically to represent worker and union concerns, Anderson uncovered a massive cover-up of ground and surface water contamination by rocket propellants in suburban southwest Denver by Lockheed-Martin, and ground water contamination by toxics and radio-nuclides from Rocky Flats and other sites. These toxic materials were being illegally dumped into the Lowry Landfill, whose effluent enters the Platte River and leaches into aquifers providing water to the Denver Metro area. Anderson was asked to serve as an expert witness in the case.

Adrienne Anderson was an instructor in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder from 1993-2005. Her course emphasized research and reports performed by her students.


9 linear feet (6 Boxes )

Language of Materials



Adrienne Anderson (1952-2011) was an instructor in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder from 1993-2005. Environmental whistleblower, investigator, and educator of ecological investigation, she frequently elicited corporate, civic and on campus controversy. Included are course work research and reports performed by her classes. Companies include: Coors Brewing, Coors Ceramics, Lockheed Martin, Stapleton Airport, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Denver Water, Lowry Air Force Base, and Ball Aerospace.


This collection is arranged in original order in which we attained it from the donor, with a box level inventory list.

In Progress
Inventoried by: Deborah Hollis, Anna Ferris, Megan Lambert, Michael Dombrowski, Susan Guinn-Chipman, Gregory Robl, Marilyn Burns
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States