Defense Contractor Implicated in Nuclear Cover Up

Updated 24 weeks ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

Debbie Raphael, Director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), abruptly resigned not long before the publication of this report. Her resignation was an acknowledgment of the deep problems Consumer Watchdog previously raised.


Under her leadership, Raphael at best failed to address the core problems at the department and, in some cases, worsened them. These problems include weakening oversight of polluters under pressure from industry and its hired guns, and failing to force serial polluters to operate without poisoning communities or cleaning up their messes.


Raphael’s resignation is insufficient, however, to fix this agency’s deeply rooted problems because its senior leadership remains. This leadership is deeply enmeshed with the industry it regulates, creating a dysfunctional culture. It is time for a thorough housecleaning of such managers.


We hope that Governor Brown will take note of this report and acknowledge the department’s deeply rooted problems. We ask that he swiftly choose a new Director from outside the California EPA or DTSC who is deeply committed to shielding the public from toxic harm. This Director must be unafraid to replace managers who are more interested in protecting the wallets of polluters than they are in protecting the public health.

Now is a moment to rethink how the state regulates the environment in order to be an example for the rest of the nation. It is not the time for reform to go into free fall. Without a strong new Director at the helm, the DTSC will go through a period of great instability. At such moments, the department will be even more vulnerable to industry domination via highly paid fixers to the detriment of the public health.
It is precisely how these private interests operate that is the subject of our new report, Inside Job

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has been a historically troubled
agency, far too often failing to effectively fulfill its mission of protecting the public from toxic harm.
Our prior report, Golden Wasteland, documented case after case of DTSC simply failing to do its job.1
Numerous news pieces, triggered in part by the report as well as legislative hearings, have painted a
picture of a dysfunctional regulator that allows polluters to carry on, sometimes for decades, activities
that risk the health of people who live nearby.


This report is based on documents obtained via the Public Records Act, information provided
by current and former insiders, community members, environmentalists and legislative staffers
(some of whom asked to remain anonymous to protect their current positions), media reports and
other research. Our evidence documents how Boeing used three different sets of “fixers” and other
operatives to pressure government officials into helping them save money, rather than protecting the
public health.


Just how polluters come to dominate their regulators at the expense of the public has never been
addressed in the extensive examination of DTSC’s failures. Now, following the abrupt resignation
of DTSC Director Debbie Raphael who intensified this problem, the moment is ripe to examine the
system of corporate domination of regulators that are supposed to safeguard the public health.

Just how polluters come to dominate their regulators at the expense of the public has never been
addressed in the extensive examination of DTSC’s failures. Now, following the abrupt resignation
of DTSC Director Debbie Raphael who intensified this problem, the moment is ripe to examine the
system of corporate domination of regulators that are supposed to safeguard the public health.
The degree of industry capture of this agency has waxed and waned, but it is pervasive. This report
examines in detail one emblematic case—Boeing’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory—to illuminate how
polluters work the system and capture their regulators to save their clients potentially hundreds of
millions of dollars away from public view. Consumer Watchdog has won a preliminary injunction
against the DTSC over some of the issues raised in this report and is in ongoing litigation over them.


Los Angeles-area residents might be surprised to learn that they live near the site of a partial nuclear
meltdown, and one that—more than half a century later—has still not been cleaned up.


Starting in the 1940s, the federal government and private contractors used the Santa Susana site
nestled in the Simi Hills to test nuclear reactors, rocket and missile engines, and munitions, as well as
to make plutonium fuel. But sloppy operations at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory led to a partial
nuclear meltdown in 1959, as well as other reactor accidents, radioactive fires, and the open burning
of radioactive waste. The site was further contaminated with half a million gallons of the spilled
solvent TCE, as well as with dioxins, PCBs, perchlorate, and other toxic materials.

 Editor's Note: The full INSIDE JOB  Consumer Watchdog Report can be accessed by  the link that is provided.

 

 

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