The SSFL Work Group has been working for over twenty-five years for a full clean up of SSFL. In 2012, it was discontinued by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the agency responsible for overseeing the SSFL cleanup. Community demand for the Work Group remained strong and in 2013 cleanup advocates ultimately secured funding from the Community Involvement Fund to reinstate it.
Below are summaries of SSFL Work Group meetings from February 2014 – present. Each meeting title links to a page with more information and presentations from that meeting. Please see our video page to view videos from the meetings.
SSFL Cleanup Crisis: Finding a Path Forward
February 13, 2020 – This SSFL Work Group meeting brought together community members, cleanup advocates, and local elected officials to discuss the SSFL cleanup crisis. The meeting featured a presentation by CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld as well as presentations by Melissa Bumstead, founder of Parents vs SSFL, Dan Hirsch, President of Committee to Bridge the Gap, and Linda Parks, Ventura County Supervisor. Elected officials representing the area from every level of government made strong statements of support for the full, promised cleanup.
The DOE’s Broken SSFL Cleanup Promises and What We Can Do To Ensure Full Cleanup
March 8, 2017 – Melissa Bumstead, West Hills resident, presented on pediatric cancers near SSFL and a new parents’ movement fighting for full cleanup. Bob Dodge MD presented on the health impacts of SSFL contamination. Dan Hirsch, Director of the Program on Nuclear and Environmental Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and President of Committee to Bridge the Gap, presented on the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) agreement that DOE signed to clean up all contamination at SSFL, and how the DOE’s proposals violate it. Mohsen Nazemi, Deputy Director, Brownsfields and Environmental Restoration, Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) presented on DTSC’s Response to DOE’s EIS for the SSFL Cleanup.
Potential Contamination Concerns in Runkle Canyon and the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, Analysis of Boeing Cancer Risk Assessments, and Prospects for Cleanup
March 16, 2016 – Dan Hirsch, Director of the Program on Nuclear and Environmental Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and President of Committee to Bridge the Gap, presented data on contamination findings in Runkle Canyon and the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Timothy Lippman, Senior Field Deputy for LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl presented on efforts by Supervisor Kuehl and other elected officials to ensure full cleanup. A presentation on Boeing’s cancer risk assessment was made by Michael Rincon and Jenna Mota Melville, students at UCSC.
LA’s Nuclear Secret and New Info About SSFL Contamination
September 24, 2015 – NBC-LA Reporter Joel Grover and Producer Matthew Glasser presented the first two segments from their year-long investigation, LA’s Nuclear Secret, about the meltdown, health impacts from site contamination, and how the Boeing Company has used its clout to try to derail the cleanup. Community members shared moving personal stories and their desire for a full cleanup so no others are at risk. We also revealed information about Boeing-proposed cleanup levels which would leave about 98% of their contamination on the site.
Who Controls the SSFL Cleanup – Boeing or the Public?
February 4, 2015 – The meeting addressed proposed changes by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board that would further weaken Boeing’s SSFL permit, a recent decision by California Superior Court rejecting Boeing’s request to dump radioactive debris in sites not licensed for such waste, a presentation about communities near other contaminated sites impacted by the failure DTSC to protect them, and cleanup myths propagated by Boeing and its surrogates—claims of “moonscaping,” exaggerated soil volume estimates and truck numbers.
Eyewitness to SSFL Meltdown and Whether Site Will Ever Be Cleaned Up
October 1, 2014 – This meeting addressed critical questions about the site’s toxic nuclear history and concerns about whether it will ever be cleaned up. John Pace recounted his experiences working at the site during the 1959 partial nuclear meltdown. His moving first-person testimony described the build up of radioactive gas that was released into the atmosphere and into the Simi and San Fernando Valleys. A panel discussion included former Atomics International employees Dan Parks and Bonnie Klea and Dr. Robert Dodge of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles.
Data on Offsite Migration of Contamination from SSFL
June 18, 2014 – Dr. Adrienne Katner of the Louisiana State University School of Public Health presented on a multi-year study of potential exposures in neighboring areas from the different contaminants that have migrated from SSFL offsite. Dr. Robert Dodge presented on the health effects of perchlorate, dioxin, and lead, three contaminants from SSFL that have migrated offsite. New data on contaminant migration from SSFL was presented by a team of students from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Dan Hirsch of the Committee to Bridge the Gap summarized recent actions by the Department of Energy (DOE), NASA, and DTSC that raise questions about their commitment to the 2010 cleanup agreements and related promises. Richard Hume of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) confirmed that DTSC was now basing the cleanup of the Boeing portion of SSFL on the less protective “suburban residential” standard.
Contamination, Cleanup, and Questions
February 5, 2014 – The newly revived SSFL Work Group drew a capacity audience in its first meeting in over two years. Dan Hirsch, President of Committee to Bridge the Gap, gave an overview of the SSFL site history and the cleanup agreements. Mary Aycock, Remedial Project Manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, presented on the EPA’s 2012 Radiological Survey of the site, which found 500 samples of elevated radiation at the site, some hundreds to thousands of times over background. Dr. Bob Dodge, a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, presented on radiation and health. Bonnie Klea, a former SSFL Worker, addressed the federal Worker Compensation program for workers who became ill while working at SSFL and other Department of Energy (DOE) facilities. Peter Zorba, SSFL Project Manger from NASA, presented on contamination in NASA’s area of the site. Cassandra Owens, Chief of the Industrial Permitting Unit for the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Board, presented on some of the water contamination and fines levied against Boeing for exceedances of pollution limits leaving the SSFL site. John Jones, Federal Project Director for the Department of Energy, discussed DOE’s progress in executing the AOCs. DTSC Project Director for SSFL, Ray Leclerc affirmed DTSC’s commitment to the cleanup agreements. Ethan Miska, a student at UC Santa Cruz, presented on demolition and disposal of contaminated debris from Boeing-owned buildings at SSFL at recycling centers and dumpsites not licensed for disposal of low-level radioactive waste.