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With respect to the Runkle Canyon project, we have not yet approved the response plan that was submitted by the developer and the developer therefore was not able to proceed with removal of tar material and additional testing prescribed by DTSC until such time as the response plan is reviewed. My hope is that we will be able to approve that response plan in the next few weeks but I don’t know exactly when it’ll happen.

HIRSCH: We have three polluters, Boeing, NASA, and DOE, who have operated for decades above the law. We wouldn’t have had this contamination in the first place if they had followed environmental rules. In the case of Rocketdyne, it ended up pleading guilty to three felony environmental crimes, illegal disposal of hazardous materials, and the deaths of a couple of its workers.


So the struggle that we are currently facing is whether or not these three Responsible Parties, a term of art and an ethical term, will finally comply with the law. And the passage of 990 has not been sufficient to get these parties, these polluters, to finally get the message that they are not above the law. Now each of those three has made a commitment to the United States Congress, to the Legislators, and to the community, they will strictly comply with all of our state laws, including SB-990.


What you don’t know is that in these secret negotiations that have gone on the last seven months, DOE, NASA, and Boeing have been resisting complying with that law and attempting to break the promise that they made to the Congress. And the reason that you don’t’ have a consent order before you, it is on our agenda, it’s supposed to be the main thing we are talking about, we were supposed to have presentations on it today. The main reason that those three responsible parties continue to try to sabotage that law, evade that law, to get out from under having to clean up that site to the degree that they are required by law which they are frankly have a responsibility to do….We still can’t see what’s in it and they have not agreed to sign it.

Frankly, we are running out of time and frankly they are running out of time. If in the next ten days there isn’t an agreement by these responsible parties to live up to the commitments made to the Congress, the state Legislature and the public to indeed fully comply with SB-990, we will enter an entirely new phase.

We’ve essentially been going through a situation where holdovers from the prior administration have continued to try to sabotage the agreement. There is a new administration in Washington and that administration has not been notified at high levels, YET, of what those lower levels of people have been doing. We are almost at the point, and we will be at that point within two weeks, where the gloves come off and one has to go to the highest levels of these agencies and the White House through the many entities, among them the very powerful senators and congress people who have been involved with this matter for a decade or two. I don’t understand why those agencies would want to pick a fight with the chair of their oversight committees, in this particular case, a man who is not known to be shy about certain things vis-à-vis the rights and needs of the constituents. I don’t know why they would be silly enough to do that. But we are within ten days of that starting.


NASA is still on the verge of trying to transfer that land and break the law…If within ten days there is not an agreement which is acceptable to the community, we will be entering a new phase.


We came, many of us, to this meeting to find out what was in that consent decree and we don’t get to see it yet. There are negotiations that will continue to go on, apparently with no one representing you as part of those negotiations. We are at a point, where if in a couple weeks, there is not an acceptable agreement that involves strict compliance with 990, this will enter a phase that I don’t believe Boeing, DOE or NASA will like. I don’t want to go there. This is not going to be pleasant if we don’t get, in a very short time, an end to the resistance to this law and obstruction to it.

24 Years of Award-Winning SSFL/Rocketdyne Reporting
June 1998June 2022

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  1. For now, the existing Consent Order is signed by all the parties and 9 of 11 RCRA reports are out for public review. I encourage everyone to weigh-in and use their voice on how these reports need to be done — which is done right. We still see many gaps in all of these reports, especially in the recently submitted reports for Group 2 and now we are reviewing the giant group 1a which is the Area 1 portion nearest the San Fernando Valley side. We need to make sure all the historical information is known so that the radiation soil survey that is underway by EPA can be as comprehensive as possible and so any/all chemical and radiation impacts are dealt with properly. I think we need a site-wide soil management, segregation and disposal, and transportation plan that addresses the important concerns the surrounding communities have about dust mitigation, wind conditions and avoiding the rainy season. But I think we can all agree we want clean-up and for that, the trucks HAVE to come down the hill. I think it’s important to voice these concerns so the process is safe and protective so we can finally clean-up the site so the next generations do not inherit this mess. When hot-spots are found during the characterization process, I think we want to get it out of there, but we need to do it right. Let’s talk about how to make sure it is done right, to SB990 standards as we have law behind us today.

  2. First, I was astonished that no reporters attended this meeting. One daily newspaper spilled a lot of ink a few weeks ago bragging about how they “owned” this story and that they were the public enlighteners of all things Rocketdyne. Another daily newspaper has also been following the story but they do seem to be getting bored with it.

    Understandable because sweet nothing has happened and the various officials and agency reps obviously feel no compunction about wasting the time of plain, old, ordinary citizens.

    Which begs the question, are they stalling until the entire generation of those with legitimate claims just die off, akin to the treatment of the Atomic Vets? It can’t be they are waiting for the contamination to magically disappear, could it? Fifty years later, the land remains unsurveyed by a non-involved party. What other conclusions can be reached by a sane person?

    Wait, I know the answer! According to an unnamed website, their reporter has revealed that nothing serious ever happened at the site. She even found 20, TWENTY, unnamed senior scientists who all created and ran the SRE in 1959 and who, until now, had been silent on the issue. Where on earth have they been hiding all this time? Wow, what a score for that website! Stop the presses! I’ll just bet that Boeing and others who sympathize with Boeing now feel vindicated. Everyone has been wasting their time for 30 years. Don’t we feel foolish. NOT.

    It sounds eerily like the disinformation propagated 60 years ago by McCarthy and HUAC. Too bad some former newspaper people feel they must resort to a campaign of disinformation.

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