Report Exposes Boeing Efforts to Derail SSFL Cleanup

Inside Job coverA new report by the public interest group Consumer Watchdog, Inside Job, reveals the extent of Boeing’s efforts to derail the SSFL cleanup. Click here to read the report.

Last year, Consumer Watchdog issued a report, Golden Wasteland, that focused on numerous communities, including those near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, who have been impacted by the failure of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to protect them from toxics.

The new report’s major findings include that Under Governor Brown and former DTSC Director Raphael:

  • Boeing captured DTSC, including its Director Debbie Raphael, with help from former government officials—including some that worked for Jerry Brown in his prior administration—to pressure their own former subordinates and others to reverse cleanup.
  • Boeing benefited from the removal of four regulators who had championed full cleanup of the site.
  • The Brown Administration cut a deal with Boeing that stipulated away the right to contest virtually any Boeing assertions of material fact in the lawsuit that Boeing filed against the state cleanup law.
  • Boeing lobbyists killed off legislation to codify the Administrative Orders on Consent with NASA and DOE, allowing Boeing to continue pressing regulators to loosen cleanup standards.
  • DTSC regulators ultimately approved Boeing’s plan to stop far short of a full cleanup at the site out of public view, in violation of the Administrative Orders on Consent that DTSC itself had signed, and in violation of prior DTSC commitments.
  • DTSC dissolved a long-standing Inter-Agency Work Group that had held regulators accountable for their cleanup commitments, and replaced it with a group conceived of and supported by Boeing that pushes for leaving most contamination behind.
  • DTSC abdicated state authority over the cleanup of Santa Susana to Boeing—the very party responsible for the contamination—in violation of the public trust.

The report recommends that the Governor must appoint a strong new DTSC Director, brought in from outside CalEPA and DTSC, who is committed to thoroughly reforming the agency. In addition, it urges that DTSC’s top managers be replaced with a new team of people deeply committed to protecting the public from toxic harm who have not been through the revolving door between industry and government. The report further recommends that loopholes in lobbying and ethics laws be closed to prevent fixers hired by polluters to press for specific agency actions benefiting an individual company without public knowledge. DTSC must be directed to fully enforce the legally binding Administrative Orders on Consent signed by NASA and DOE, and Boeing must be compelled to clean up its portion of Santa Susana to the land’s agricultural zoning/general plan, as DTSC committed to in the prior Administration. Finally, demolition at the Santa Susana site must be part of any public Environmental Impact Review of the site cleanup, as required by CEQA, and any radioactively contaminated debris must be disposed of in disposal facilities licensed for that purpose, according to the law.

See Media Coverage:

Los Angeles TimesSanta Susana Cleanup Effort is a Toxic Mess
The AcornBoeing Accused of Derailing Toxic Cleanup
LA Daily NewsAdvocates call for tougher leader at California Department of Toxic Substances Control
KCBS NewsReport: Ex-Calif. Regulators Helped Boeing Derail Santa Susana Cleanup

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