Consumer Groups Win Preliminary Injunction Against Toxics Regulator Over Illegal Disposal of Boeing Radioactive Debris

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SANTA MONICA, CA –The Sacramento Superior Court granted a motion for preliminary injunction against the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) pending final outcome of a lawsuit filed by Consumer Watchdog counsel and Strumwasser & Woocher on behalf of Consumer Watchdog and three other groups over the illegal demolition and disposal of radioactive debris from Boeing's Santa Susana nuclear reactor and rocket engine test site.

"We are grateful that the judge has halted the irresponsible disposal of radioactive waste from Santa Susana," said Consumer Watchdog advocate Liza Tucker. "We will make every effort to ensure that this toxic regulator follows the state's signature environmental law, instead of breaking it, by stopping Boeing's illegal disposal of radioactive waste at dumps and recycling shops not licensed to receive such waste."

Tucker said that any cleanup, demolition, and disposal of radioactive buildings, structures, and debris at the site must be publicly reviewed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before any action is undertaken. Instead, the state plans to review the environmental impact of soil and water cleanup, and ignore the demolition activities. "The demolition and disposal of these structures must be part of the CEQA review and not rubberstamped long before any review is completed," said Tucker.

In his order enjoining DTSC from granting any further approval to Boeing's activities pending the outcome of litigation, Judge Allen Sumner wrote, "The court concludes Petitioners established a reasonable probability they will prevail on their CEQA claim against DTSC, and the balance of harms on the record to date tips in their favor."

For the order, see:

In September, Strumwasser & Woocher and Consumer Watchdog counsel filed for preliminary injunction on behalf of Consumer Watchdog and three other groups, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Committee to Bridge the Gap, the Southern California Federation of Scientists, to freeze demolition and disposal of radioactive debris at Santa Susana.

The four groups sued the DTSC and Department of Public Health in August 2013, alleging the continuing violation of CEQA by Respondents because they entirely failed to perform any of the required environmental review for the demolition of structures at Area IV, the nuclear portion of the Santa Susana Field Lab site, prior to authorizing their demolition and disposal.

For more on the Santa Susana lawsuit see:

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Liza Tucker
Liza Tucker
Liza Tucker is a consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog, following everything from oil and gas to the regulation of toxic substances in the state of California. She comes to us from Marketplace, the largest U.S. broadcast show on business and economics heard by ten million listeners each week on 400 radio stations. Liza worked at this public radio show for a decade, first as Commentary Editor and then as Senior Editor for both Washington and Sustainability News.

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