FEDS PROPOSES TO LEAVE 98% OF SSFL CONTAMINATION NOT CLEANED UP

January 28, 2019 – The Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA, Southern California Federation of Scientists, Committee to Bridge the Gap, and the Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition have filed formal letters of objection to the Trump Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) over its proposal to walk away from its cleanup obligations at the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). The letters (see below) allege that the Trump Administration is the breaching legally binding cleanup agreement DOE entered into with California and violating fundamental environmental laws. Over 800 community members send in letters to DOE as well. (A Change.org petition calling for full cleanup has now been signed by nearly 570,000 people.)

Over the holidays, the Trump Administration issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the cleanup. It contained more than 1000 pages of new material that the public had never been able to review or comment on, and proposed a cleanup decision–walking away from 98% of the contamination–that had not even been considered in the draft EIS on which comments had been solicited. The Trump DOE admits this would violate the 2010 cleanup agreement with California, but indicates its intent to do so anyway.

SSFL is one of the most contaminated sites in the state. It was home to ten reactors, four of which suffered accidents, including a partial nuclear meltdown. There were also radioactive fires, open-air burning of toxic wastes, and numerous other releases that resulted in widespread contamination, some of which migrates offsite. Half a million people live within ten miles.

The recent Woolsey Fire began at SSFL and burned much of the contaminated site, raising the prospect of toxic and radioactive releases from the fire. Had the cleanup agreements been complied with, which require full cleanup by 2017, that would not have been a concern. But the cleanup not only hasn’t been completed, it hasn’t begun, and now the Trump Administration proposes to walk away from virtually all of its cleanup obligations.

Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA has transmitted to elected officials all of the groups’ formal objections to DOE’s actions, calling on them to intervene to assure that the longstanding cleanup promises are kept.

Group Letters to DOE: