State Senator Sheila Kuehl
State Senator Sheila Kuehl

On October 12 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB-990, a bill championed by State Senator Sheila Kuehl to clean up Rocketdyne to Superfund standards. Boeing agreed to pay for remediation and to donate the lab to the State for parkland. (See “Pay Dirt.”)

The agreement states that “Boeing agrees it will clean up the Property for both radiological and chemical constituents using a risk-based approach” and that “Boeing agrees it will clean up the Property to levels acceptable for residential use and that protect individuals living in the vicinity of the Property.”

Government oversight will be headed by the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and transfer of the 2,850 acre lab to the State is prohibited until cleanup goals are completed. Boeing waived its claims against the State and indemnified it against future liability over the astronomical pollution.

Schwarzenegger called the legislation historic, applauded Kuehl, and commended Boeing for “working with officials to come up with solution that will protect the health of residents in adjacent communities.” Veteran Rocketdyne watchdog Dan Hirsch called Kuehl’s efforts a “tremendous accomplishment” but cautioned that the “devil will be in the details” when dealing with Boeing.

The historic battle over Rocketdyne is unlikely to end anytime soon, given that the cleanup will take years as off-site contamination spreads.

The activists’ focus now turns to the Runkle Canyon development adjacent to the lab and DTSC’s role in assessing the dangers of development in the canyon. [KB Home’s Runkle Canyon development is now called Arroyo Vista at the Woodlands.]

25 Years of Award-Winning SSFL/Rocketdyne Reporting

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