A nature walk on Earth Day sponsored by Boeing Co. near the old Santa Susana Field Laboratory is causing disdain for local residents, who say the walk is part of an effort to ignore the lack of cleanliness in the area after years of Cold War Pollution by rocket motor test.
The hike includes a tour of the old field laboratory and the landscape that surrounds it in a region that includes massive sandstone rock formations, expansive views and oak trees nestled in the hills above the western edge of the San Fernando Valley.
Boeing spokeswoman Holly Braithwaite wrote in an email that Saturday's event is one of the many bus and walking tours that take place on the site each year.
He added that the "wildlife and native plants of the property have begun to reclaim the area and prosper. Visitors, naturalists and students have access to a vast wild landscape right next to Los Angeles. "
Braithwaite did not reveal the exact route of the walk.
But a group of residents and activists plan to show up in the area on Saturday to continue efforts to demand a cleanup of the contamination promised for a long time at the site dating back to the Cold War, and to investigate and conduct tests on Mercury missions. and Apollo. .
Boeing, which acquired part of the site in 1996, says it has "made significant progress in cleanup and restoration," including obtaining nearly 2,400 acres as open space for wildlife "and the community," according to a web summary. of Boeing.
The laboratory appeared on the map in the 1940s and, approximately two decades later, it became the site of a partial melting accident that left the area contaminated with radioactive and chemical contamination.
The US Department of Energy and NASA signed an agreement in 2010, which promised to eliminate all site contamination by 2017. The state's Toxic Substances Control Department, or DTSC, asked Boeing, which owns part of the area, commit to Your own cleanliness.
Approximately one year after the deadline, companies have not yet cleaned up the area, and in March, a report from the Office of the Inspector General of NASA said that the ambitious cleanup that NASA agreed to carry out under the terms of a nine-year-old agreement is not "achievable". "
The inspector general's report said it could cost NASA more than $ 500 million and take more than 25 years to clean up its part of the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory at a high level.
"The scope of the planned cleanup has increased significantly," the report said, adding that cleaning the 450-acre portion of the NASA field to the stricter standard, known as the bottom level, "will significantly damage the flora and the fauna on the site, "according to the report.
State officials warn visitors to avoid some areas of the facility, which was the site of multiple rocket tests.
High levels of contaminants, mainly lead and benzo-a-pyrene, which cause cancer, are present in the part of Sage Ranch Park, which is a former firing range, according to Russ Edmondson, spokesman for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. , who oversees the cleanup in the field.
"People should not walk or occupy the fenced part of the Sage Ranch Loop Trail until the previous range is cleaned," he wrote in an email.
About two years ago, the part of the Sage Ranch Loop Trail that runs through the old shooting range was fenced and placed with signs to prevent people from accessing the trail.
"It is safe for people to use the part of the Sage Ranch Loop Trail that is not fenced," he said.
Edmondson added that Area I, Area II and Area IV in the laboratory areas have not been cleaned as required by the agreement.
"Until then, recreators will continue to be denied access to these areas," he said.
The former sodium elimination facility, also known as a sodium burn pit, where toxic chemicals were burned, "cleaning has not yet been carried out as required by the 2010 Administrative Consent Order, and until then, recreational avoid access to the area, "according to edmondson
West Hills resident Melissa Bumstead, whose daughter was diagnosed with a rare leukemia when she was 4 years old, plans to protest Boeing's trip on Saturday with other residents, heading to the kites with a mask, booties and a flyer with the signs and symptoms that should be observed. for after being exposed to specific chemical products.
She said the Boeing rides are meant to make people forget about pollution.
"What really makes me angry is that Boeing is trying to present himself as environmentalists, but they were part of the problem, they tried to hide the problem and now they refuse to clean it," he said.
Some related articles:
- In November, the huge Woolsey fire burned a significant part of NASA's Area II.
- In the following weeks, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department said there was no discernible level of radiation in the area analyzed. DTSC reported that radiation levels were not found above background levels and there are no elevated levels of hazardous compounds other than those normally present after a forest fire.
- The fact that the Woolsey fire was so close to the Santa Susana field lab attracted the attention of celebrity Kim Kardashian, who lives in the vicinity of Calabasas. He called on President Donald Trump and California Gavin Newsom to pressure officials in the cleanup.