FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Jeff Ruch firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 213-7028
Opposition Mounts to Newsom-Boeing Sweetheart Deal
Water Board Hearing on Santa Susana Cleanup Axed as Localities Protest
Oakland, CA —The only public hearing on a controversial toxic cleanup agreement developed behind closed doors between the Newsom administration and Boeing will not take place tomorrow. Growing questions about the 800-page deal and expressions of concern from Los Angeles and Ventura County officials are preventing the quick approval Newsom officials had hoped to engineer, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
The agreement unveiled last month would dramatically weaken the cleanup requirements for Santa Susana Field Laboratory, one of the state’s most toxic sites. The agreement contradicts repeated assurances by Newsom officials that they would enforce the far more stringent cleanup standards contained in a 2007 order that was slated for completion in 2017.
Rather than follow-through on those commitments, the Newsom administration opened “confidential” settlement negotiations with Boeing last year. Those negotiations produced a settlement that is drawing protests from the principal community group, Parents Against Santa Susana, and public health organizations, including PEER and Committee to Bridge the Gap, but also from officials in both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties who are –
- Threatening “to explore legal action as necessary to ensure that the 2007” agreement is carried out;
- Objecting that the Newsom-Boeing “Settlement Agreement was negotiated, prepared, and approved without representatives of the public. There has been no ability for review or input by … local governments or the public” and
- Citing the need to explore “significant concerns about the adequacy of the chemical remediation Standards provided by the Settlement.”
“The Newsom-Boeing deal is a complete betrayal of repeated public assurances that Santa Susana would be adequately cleaned up,” stated Pacific PEER Director Jeff Ruch. “Once people read the fine print of this deal, they quite rightly are becoming appalled.”
While the deal purports to be final, it was made contingent upon the approval of the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board at a hearing that had been slated for tomorrow but is now indefinitely postponed. Significantly, the Newsom administration had just removed the chair of that Board reportedly over his concerns about the Boeing deal.
“While delay does not kill this deal, the details of its concessions to Boeing, like dead fish, will raise deeper stinks the longer they linger,” added Ruch, noting the deal also has not undergone the review required under the California Environmental Quality Act, meaning that litigation is likely. “The underlying issue is why the Newsom administration will not enforce the law to finally cleanup the incredible mess still percolating from the heights of Santa Susana.”
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