Bush EPA Plans For Dramatically Relaxing Radiation Protection Before Leaving Office

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10/30/2008: Plans to greatly increase permissible public exposures from a wide range of events resulting in release of radioactivity were condemned today by scores of organizations and individuals in a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

A detailed report by Committee to Bridge the Gap reveals, radionuclide by radionuclide, the astronomical concentrations of radioactive contamination in drinking water proposed, which are orders of magnitude higher than EPA’s longstanding drinking water limits. MORE . . .

New Yucca Rule Would Allow Equivalent of 1700 Chest Xrays Over a Lifetime

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Would Produce 1 Cancer Per 125 People Exposed

10/12/2008: EPA has now finalized the radiation protection standards for Yucca at 15 millirem/year for the first 10,000 years and 100 millirem/year thereafter. The 100 millirem figure is a breathtaking break with decades of EPA strenuous positions that permitting that high an exposure is “nonprotective of health.”

Click here for CBG’s Press Release (pdf)

CBG’s Hirsch testifies before U.S. Senate Environment Committee About “Nuclear Amnesia”

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September 18 – At the invitation of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, CBG’s Dan Hirsch testified in Washington on September 18. Using the history of nuclear accidents, radioactive spills, releases, and broken cleanup promises from the Santa Susana Field Lab as a case study, Hirsch warns that an effort to revive nuclear power risks a huge repeat of the disasters the last we tried this.

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Read his testimony here.

Watch the entire hearing by clicking here.

Groups Blast Boeing Panel

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07/17/2008: Boeing Pushes to Relax Enforcement of Water Pollution Limits.

Efforts by a panel assembled by Boeing to push for elimination of a range of enforceable numeric limits on pollution leaving its Santa Susana site were criticized by CBG and five other environmental organizations in a joint letter issued July 20.

Click here to read letter. (.pdf)

Long Sought Win For The Community

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The Department of Energy could not be trusted to find pollution it had created and had a conflict of interest in that it would have to pay to clean up any contamination located. Twenty years ago, EPA had found that DOE had been washing off the radioactivity off vegetation samples before monitoring them, and driving off the volatile radioactivity by heating to high temperature. More recently it was found that DOE was filtering out the radioactivity from groundwater samples before monitoring them. So an independent survey was necessary.

Congress appropriated up to $13 million for a comprehensive survey and directed EPA and DOE to enter into an Inter-Agency Agreement for a joint survey performed pursuant to EPA’s Superfund guidance. DOE defied the Congress and its repeated commitments to the legislators and the community. It insisted that it, DOE, do the onsite survey, with EPA relegated to looking over the paperwork. And DOE nonetheless went ahead and spent nearly all of the $13 million appropriation on matters unrelated to the survey, making the survey impossible.

As part of its “GAP Analysis” that would form the basis for DOE’s own survey, DOE claimed to be using EPA’s Preliminary Remediation Goals for the rural residential/agricultural land use scenario and EPA’s default inputs, as required by state law SB990. However, Bridge the Gap discovered that DOE had altered the EPA table, using values instead that were 100-1000 times higher (more lax) than the primary EPA cleanup goals. We exposed this in a couple of dramatic public meetings, and the disclosure appears to have helped get EPA to stand up and say “No” to DOE. To everyone’s surprise, DOE the next day backed down and agreed to let EPA alone do the survey.

There are a number of problems still ahead — one has to get Congress to appropriate new money for the survey, now that DOE has diverted the existing appropriation to other matters; that new language has to be airtight, so DOE can’t evade it like it did last year’s language; the survey has to cover the whole site, not just Area IV as DOE wishes; and EPA’s Gregg Dempsey, long promised by EPA to do the survey, indeed needs to direct it. But all told, this is a tremendous victory.

Related Documents [.pdf format]

Long Sought Win For The Community

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07/11/2008 Result: EPA Stands Up; DOE Backs Down on Radiation Survey. After disclosures by CBG that DOE had altered critical numbers in a key table related to the cleanup of the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory, EPA insisted that it take the lead on an independent radiation survey, and after years of resisting, DOE has finally agreed. See CBG disclosure, EPA letter, DOE response, and NRDC-CBG letter.

For years, the community surrounding the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory had been promised that US EPA would conduct a comprehensive, independent radiation survey to locate the contamination that needed to be cleaned up. More . . .

DOE's out of control radiation levels