The federal EPA and the state’s DTSC abandon the agreement to cleanup SSFL to background levels of contamination. Longtime activists are outraged at repeated public betrayals as the government blows $41.5 million in stimulus money in the process. Boeing’s lobbying power, and its success in turning DTSC into a ‘captured agency’ virtually assures that contamination will continue to gush into the L.A. River, the object of a $2 billion renovation around which L.A.’s master plan is based. December 12 EPA meeting hears calls for investigation of the agency’s misappropriation of millions that were supposed to be the guide for the DTSC cleanup to background. Boeing’s PR flack, and author of its meltdown makeover, Gary Polakovic, shows up at the meeting unchastened and is warmly greeted by astroturf activist John Luker.
Boeing’s huge lobbying war chest, one of the five highest corporate lobbyist coffers in the country, has turned Cal-EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control into a “captured agency” say Rocketdyne activists. Community members say DTSC appeared to fold in a lawsuit brought by Boeing over Santa Susana Field Laboratory, not challenging false statements in litigation. Encouraged by this backpedaling, another SSFL polluter, NASA, tries to back out of cleanup agreement which is greeted with citizen outrage. Boeing plans to leave lethal strontium-90 in its dirt at 430 to 43,000 times background where its astroturf collaborators claim no more cleanup is needed. The amounts of carcinogens that could be left behind will be staggering if Boeing succeeds in selling SSFL as “no significant risk to human health today” as Gary Polakovic’s plan puts it.
Boeing greenwashes the polluted Rocketdyne site above the San Fernando Valley by pushing for and offering to fund an “astroturf” Community Advisory Group (CAG) and, with the help of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, eliminates the long-established SSFL Interagency Work Group. E-mails and interviews detail how Boeing and DTSC put all their support in the CAG petitioner, Christina Walsh, who has threatened, harassed and libeled community members, elected officials and the media. With other astroturf targets like open-space advocate John Luker, friend to Boeing meltdown makeover PR flack Gary Polakovic, the greenwashing of Rocketdyne is nearly complete.
EnviroReporter.com exposes Boeing’s meltdown makeover in this five-part expose. Boeing hires a former LA Times writer, Gary Polakovic, to craft a plan selling the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory as clean enough for a park. Thousands of pages of documents, reports, interviews, e-mails, photographs and surveillance video of demolition at the site reveal a vast Boeing meltdown makeover. New information shows the lab more radioactive than ever with a polluter-pliant government subverting its own $41.5 million radiation study.
Shocking new radiation readings from the old Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Laboratory show cesium-137 at nearly 9,300 times normal background levels along with a witches’ brew of deadly radionuclides on “The Hill.” Worse yet, the U.S. EPA has bait and switched the radiation background numbers threatening an agreement to clean the radioactive site back to its normal condition. Sly maneuver fools legislator and nuclear watchdogs.
[This is an expanded version of a December 27, 2010 LA Weekly blog post entitled “Arnold Schwarzenegger backs down on gutting of California's Green Chemistry Initiative” where your comments are also invited as well as here.]
In the face of withering media coverage in LA Weekly and elsewhere, the Schwarzenegger Administration has pulled an about-face on [...]
Environmentalists are crying foul over the gutting of the Green Chemistry Initiative by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Department of Toxic Substances Control in his final days in office. Enviros say that slashed regulations hurt Californians and make a mockery out of Schwarzenegger’s ‘green governor’ legacy.
EnviroReporter.com has confirmed through two independent sources that signing of final agreements between the California EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) and NASA for the cleanup of the former Santa Susana Field Laboratory site in Simi Valley will happen later today.
California EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, in a sleight of land, has negotiated a deal with KB Home that would leave the 1,595-acre property virtually unremediated for radioactive and chemical contamination while the adjacent 2,850-acre Santa Susana Field Laboratory would be extensively cleaned up to background levels. Some Simi Valley residents, led by the Radiation Rangers, are wondering why what’s good enough for Rocketdyne isn’t good enough for Runkle.
Lost in the glow of an historic deal to clean up the sprawling Santa Susana Field Laboratory is the fact that the cleanup will stop at the edge of the property line and not include controversial Runkle Canyon which shows signs of being polluted by the same radiation and chemicals that the old Rocketdyne lab it abuts has been contaminated with.
EnviroReporter.com was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Steve Cain, senior environmental planner for the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, on December 16. In our last communications, Steve provided us with information crucial to an investigation that could impact the health and well-being of untold numbers of people, speaking volumes about Steve’s integrity. We will miss this delightful and dedicated man.
Former Rocketdyne toxics chief, Norman E. Riley, blasts Department of Toxics Substances Control as an agency “where obfuscation, abdication of authority, collusion, and other contemptible behaviors currently trump honesty and integrity.” In a fiery e-mail to EnviroReporter.com, Riley admits misleading community regarding Runkle Canyon and that no public comments about cleanup plan were used.
Fifty years after America’s worst nuclear meltdown 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s “Sodium Reactor Experiment,” the government’s just-sacked head of lab remediation says the new Rocketdyne cleanup law is too strict and that site owner Boeing is going to sue the State over the standards. New Miller-McCune article and exclusive interviews.
The Coca complex was involved with several missile programs including Navaho, Atlas, J-2, Saturn V second Stage Battleship (five J-2s), Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), and Delta IV Expendable Launch Vehicle Tanks. Within the 141-acre Group 4, which Coca Area shares with Delta Area and the Propellant Load Facility, there are a number of chemicals that Boeing and NASA are responsible for remediating. They include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethylene or TCE, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, and dioxins.
Will new Department of Toxic Substances Control leadership in Runkle Canyon mean that DTSC will actually take citizen and media concerns seriously over development of this property that borders the nuclear area of Rocketdyne? EnviroReporter.com analyzes what the department has previously ignored as we conclude our seven-part series “Railroading Runkle Canyon?”
When Runkle Canyon developer KB Home gave the Department of Toxic Substances Control 41 environmental reports on its property, EnviroReporter.com analyzed each one and presented its 28 pages of findings to DTSC in July 2008. The department ignored most of these analyses which we subsequently submitted to DTSC in February 2009 as public comments to the Runkle Canyon Response Plan. Will the department again ignore these questions and comments now that there is new leadership for the Runkle Canyon site?
D’Lanie Blaze questions developer KB Home’s use of controversial lab Dade Moeller & Associates to retest Runkle Canyon for strontium-90. Blaze reminds then-Department of Toxic Substances Control project head, Norm Riley, that Dade Moeller himself claimed that he’s “just not worried about radiation exposure because of the likelihood that we’ll soon have a cure for cancer.” Blaze burns DTSC over issue and questions if the Response Plan is a “dog and pony show.”
The Radiation Rangers ask why it sounds like the cleanup plan for Runkle Canyon is being decided without public input by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Considering the stakes in the controversial canyon, where KB Home hopes to build 461 residences, the Rangers are demanding answers. Special week-long report.
DTSC’s Cypress office informed EnviroReporter that it had amended its Aerojet Chino Hills website to accurately reflect where the polluted 800-acre facility is located. Three weeks later, the DTSC Envirostor page hasn’t been touched. But that’s not the worst of it.
Walsh’s 13 pages of “Comments on the Runkle Canyon Response Plan” include photographs and maps. This well-crafted document clearly illustrates Walsh’s concerns about the canyon. Her expertise and ability to crunch numbers, analyze data, and conceptualize how it all stacks up in the grand scheme of things are remarkable.
As we continue our “Railroading Runkle Canyon?” series, the Department of Toxic Substances Control replaces Rocketdyne and Runkle Canyon’s cleanup project manager criticized by the Radiation Rangers in the series. Surprise move shocks community reeling from simultaneous revelations that Boeing has not signed off on the cleanup agreement that will cost hundreds of millions.
“I sometimes wonder if we’re talking about the same place,” says the Reverend John Southwick of the Radiation Rangers. “Not only are DTSC’s orders to KB Home inadequate, unless the instructions for more radiation testing are significant; the department missed the most important stuff.”
“Dear Mr. Collins – without getting into the content of your story, I’d like to point out to you that your quote from Ms. Winger on our staff was so badly twisted out of context that it is utterly meaningless,” began the rant that we were about to read that confirmed to us what we have found wanting in the councilman’s office — competence and follow-through.
From all indications, Aerojet and Weston have done a good job finding 52 “munitions and explosives of concern” across a 39-acre area of the 800-acre facility, along with 70 pounds of munitions debris. The company used blind “seeding” of planted objects as a quality control measure and all of the seeded objects were found.
Any mechanism to not allow contaminated run-off from the site went down the drain with today’s council vote. The property will not need an EIR which would have, among many other things, determined the condition of the sewer system under Corporate Pointe at West Hills.