SB 990

Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl

Senate Bill 990, signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in October 2007, sets protective cleanup standards for chemical and radioactive contamination at SSFL. SB990 assigns cleanup responsibility for the site to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Longtime activists in the Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition thought that we finally had a rock solid deal to clean up the lab. The state of California told the U.S. EPA that it was the will of the people most affected by the lab’s pollution that the characterization and cleanup of Rocketdyne remain under state control.

Senate Bill 990, championed by former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, was going to be the law of the land. The people in RCC and the community at large rejoiced. After shutting down Rocketdyne’s nuclear work 19 years before, it was hard to believe it was happening. But with Kuehl, and Assemblymember Julia Brownley fighting for us, we thought we just might have made it this time.

We thought the cleanup would now happen, because it was the law. Boeing repeatedly promised to follow the law.

Kuehl with Assemblymember Julia Brownley

We were wrong. Boeing sued the acting director of the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to overturn the law–shamelessly saying it was doing so to protect the environment! Responsible for widespread contamination, they refuse to clean it up, and try to cover their refusal in the Orwellian rhetoric of their blocking environmental cleanup being done because of their love of the environment. “War is peace” indeed!

The lawsuit, filed November 13, 2009 is expected to last until into next year complicating and certainly slowing the cleanup process. On March 1, 2010 RCC joined Committee to Bridge the Gap, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles and the Southern California Federation of Scientists in filing an Amicus Brief in support of the defendant’s opposition to Boeing’s motion for Summary Judgment. We address every argument made by Boeing in support of DTSC’s authority in this matter. Click here for our amicus brief and exhibits.

DTSC cleaning up Rocketdyne

Boeing acts as though the lowest priority is the health and safety of the people who live nearby. Boeing acts like a spoiled child, refusing to clean up its room. But in this case, what it refuses to clean up is a mass of carcinogenic radiological and chemical contamination. Carcinogens cause cancer. Boeing is responsible for widespread contamination with carcinogens. And it is fighting tooth and nail to not have to clean up the carcinogenic mess for which it is responsible.

We can’t let that happen. The nightmare that has been SSFL can’t be passed on to future generations. We are redoubling our efforts to battle this polluter who has done and will do anything not to clean up the Santa Susana Field Lab.

RocketdyneCleanupCoalition.org will keep you informed of any and all developments in this unprecedented case. Your interest, vigilance and input are needed now more than ever.

UPDATE September 19, 2014 – Boeing successfully blocks SB 990 cleanup – but Court Decision Has No Impact on Meltdown Site Cleanup – DOE and NASA Santa Susana Cleanup Agreements Untouched