On June 10, PSR-LA conducted the first-ever military tour of Los Angeles.
Over one hundred PSR-LA supporters boarded air-conditioned buses at UCLA and traveled to the polluted grounds of the Rocketdyne Laboratory in the Simi Hills above Chatsworth. Daniel Hirsch gave a powerful history of the lab’s environmental problems including a detailed retelling of the partial meltdown of a sodium reactor in 1959.
The tour next traveled to Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Prior to working on space activities for NASA, JPL built military rockets. In fact, JPL pioneered formulas for fabricating solid rocket fuel. Military activities so polluted the groundwater, that JPL has been deemed an EPA Superfund site. A guided tour was provided by JPL staff. It was good to learn, in contrast to Santa Susana, NASA is responsibly cleaning-up its toxic mess.
Our tour buses then traveled to the recently shuttered aerospace facility in Downey. Dr. Nancy Gibbs organized a lovely lunch for the group at a Kaiser Permanente clinic near the old factory grounds.
Last stop, at Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, we heard from environmental activist, Lyle Talbot, who described his efforts to cleanup Edwards AFB and other military sites.
PSR-LA developed an extensive guide to the local military history and facilities visited on this tour. The guide is available here.