Morning Briefing - February 13, 2020
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February 13, 2020

Santa Susana Activists to Hear from California EPA Chief

By ExchangeMonitor

California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Jared Blumenfeld is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion tonight in Simi Valley on remediation the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) in Ventura County.

The three parties responsible for cleanup of the former nuclear research and rocket testing site – Boeing, the Department of Energy, and NASA—initially signed agreements with the state in 2010 under which remediation at SSFL remediation would be completed by late 2017.

“However, the promised soil cleanup has not even begun, and all three responsible parties have announced intentions to breach their cleanup commitments and instead leave the great majority of the contaminated soil not cleaned up,” the Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles said in a press release ahead of the meeting.

In September 2019, DOE issued a record of decision (ROD) for demolishing the remaining 18 buildings at its Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) within Area IV of Santa Susana. California officials have said the state must sign off on any plans before demolition can begin. The Energy Department has over the years torn down more than 250 buildings on its 470-acre portion of the 2,850-acre site SSFL.

Critics say DOE plans for demolition and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater fall short of prior administrative orders of consent filed by the parties with the state and the federal EPA to define the process for characterization and the cleanup of the site to background levels.

The Trump administration has proposed $11 million in cleanup funding for Santa Susana during fiscal 2021 after seeking and receiving $18 million for the current fiscal 2020. The next federal budget year begins on Oct. 1.

Local elected officials, community leaders, and cleanup advocates are also scheduled to participate in today’s event, according to the press release.