Between 1992 and 2050, the EPA worked in conjunction with the Industrial Operations Command, overseeing the demilitarization of ordnance deemed unfit or obsolete for the military. Their goal was to provide a cleaner way to dispose of the surplus ammunition.
In 2066, the agency outlawed the use of Tri-Hydrox-Dioxide, a chemical used by many pre-War companies to treat animal waste. It allowed them to recycle certain nutrients and extract moisture from the raw sewage, but posed a significant risk to both humans and the environment.
As global tensions rose and resources ran low, fear of nuclear war was prevalent in the decades leading up to the Great War. While most hoped to save themselves through vaults, shelters, and underground bunkers, the Environmental Protection Agency knew that saving humanity wouldn't matter if the flora and fauna of the world died off. So they proposed a new type of vault, on a much grander scale. This would be a vault to preserve nature, not humanity. This Nursery would be constructed by the company Greenway Hydroponics, in an isolated canyon in Colorado.
- Sierra mission statement
- Boulder design document, page 17: "Tri-Hydrox-Dioxide [Biohazard]
It's the sulfur-like smell that tipped you off, but you have a horrible feeling the gas is something called 'Hydrox-Dioxide,' a hazardous substance you've read about in the computer library in your vault. Hydrox-Dioxide was used by several Pre-War companies in treating animal wastes and was outlawed by the EPA in 2066. The chemical was used in recycling certain nutrients and extracting moisture from raw sewage, but it required careful storage measures and was both toxic and flammable. If inhaled, it can cause extreme nausea, and if you have the misfortune of being exposed to a large dose, it can be lethal. If you're smelling it now, you know it's only a matter of time before you all keel over - the best protection is to get some covering over your face and get out of the contaminated area as quickly as possible."
- Nursery design documents, page 4: "The Environmental Protection Agency viewed the vaults as only half the solution. Their concern was not only the salvation of mankind, but nature as well. With this in mind, they proposed yet another type of vault, but on a much grander scale. This vault would be used by Mother Nature herself, where she would patiently await the re-emergence of man. When the survivors of the war came forth to reclaim the earth, the Garden of Eden would await them. Thus the Nursery was conceived. The construction of the Nursery posed quite a problem, however. It was agreed that it could not be built underground like the vaults. Nature needed the sun, the wind, and the rain to flourish. And yet, if exposed and open, how could it possibly survive? The only conceivable answer was that it must be located in an isolated area, free from influence man, and the ravages of war. A search for such a location began. Computers were fed massive amounts of data detailing the effects of war, where the bombs were likely to strike, and how the devastation would spread. Information about air currents, weather patterns, and the conditions that the Nursery would need to survive were then added to the equation. Finally, topographical maps of the nation input, and the machines were asked to choose. It took years, but a choice was made. A single canyon was found to house the Nursery, deep in the mountains, shielded from the influence of both man and war. Soon afterward the most ambitious project conceived by the minds of men was devised: a self contained, self sustaining ecological system, with the capacity to reproduce itself. Of course, the expense of such an enterprise could not be footed by the government alone. The project was put up for bid in the private sector. Derek Greenway was a scientist working under the employ of Poseidon Energy. When it became apparent that Poseidon was more interested in the development of weapons of destruction, and less in the saving of mankind, Derek resigned and started his own company. Greenway Hydroponics, with its turnip headed stick man logo Mr. Green, was the result. Over the years Derek's company prospered due to their state of the art innovations in farming technology. When the Nursery project was put up for bid it was only natural that Greenway Hydroponics won and construction was began."