Land resources and money corrupt as the film noir classic Chinatown attests. Nuclear power and money corrupt too as Oscar-winning China Syndrome predicted just days before Three Mile Island’s meltdown in 1979.
EnviroReporter.com exposes a new twist on these plots that would keep the Santa Susana Field Laboratory radioactive and chemically contaminated, saving the polluters hundreds of millions. If lab owner Boeing, government agencies, and astroturfers are successful, the toxic land could become Glow in the Dark Park or a new Chumash gambling casino.
China Syndrome Town is a true tale of greed, corruption, and malfeasance that could have real life consequences for the Los Angeles region and its residents.
PART ONE – HIGH STAKES FOR HOT PROPERTY
An overflow crowd attended the revived SSFL Work Group meeting in Simi Valley demanding answers about the massive Santa Susana Field Laboratory 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The site is one of the most radiologically and chemically polluted places in the nation. Lab owner Boeing and a Native American tribe with a huge casino are trying to thwart the legal agreements dictating the land be cleaned to background levels of deadly toxins. If successful, they could create one of the greatest environmental debacles in the history of Southern California.
PART TWO – GLOW IN THE DARK PARK
Agency commitments to the SSFL cleanup, radioactive debris, and Runkle Canyon dust cause a stir at SSFL Work Group meeting. Lab owner Boeing has been illegally dumping and recycling radioactive metal, concrete and asphalt which can end up in the consumer product stream as kids’ braces, bicycles and playgrounds. Radiation findings are now of special concern because KB Home has started construction on hundreds of homes on Area IV-bordering Runkle Canyon. Residents demanded answers about construction dust that is landing on their cars, solar panels and yards.
PART THREE – TRUTH OR SCARE?
Cleanup detractors claim remediating nuclear and chemical contamination at SSFL is bad, with government agencies complicit in the disinformation campaign. Recent DTSC meetings see boasts that eating dirt at the lab wouldn’t be hazardous even if “the level of contamination was between 600 and a 1,000 times background level.” Not to be outdone, the attorney for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash lays claim to the entire SSFL as “sacred” Native American property, potentially exempt from cleanup.
PART FOUR – REWRITING ROCKETDYNE
The Department of Energy, which runs nuclear Area IV of the former Rocketdyne lab, inflates the amount of radioactive and chemically contaminated dirt estimated to be excavated by three to five times. The agency also says it will consider lesser cleanup standards than its signed agreement with DTSC. Citizens cry foul and unite, despite ever-growing ugly charges made by anti-cleanup groups, to tell the government to clean up to background. China Syndrome Town will not be a walk in the park for polluters.