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Residents Weigh In on Proposals to Clean Up Old Nuclear Testing Site in Ventura County

Residents speak about proposals to clean up Santa Susana Field Lab during public comment hearing in Simi Valley.

Residents who live near an old nuclear testing and rocket lab facility in Ventura County displayed mixed views at a hearing over the weekend on proposals for a cleanup.

The U.S. Department of Energy released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement that included several plans to remove pollution from nearly 500 acres of land east and northeast of the Santa Susana Field Lab, and the public was invited to weigh-in on Saturday in Simi Valley.

While some residents say they’re pleased with cleanup efforts, others used the hearing to voice their opposition.

Simi Valley resident Greg Williams says even the most stringent proposal, which calls for removing 930,000 cubic yards of soil and then backfilling it with 700,000 cubic yards of soil, doesn’t go far enough.

"[The] federal government needs to own up to this horrible mess that they've created.  And they really need to take responsibility and do it for the people, for the children, for the mothers, for all that are concerned here," he said.

Williams and other residents claim the contamination has to led to many people getting cancer. However, Boeing – which owns much of the site – and the Department of Energy says studies have not found such a link. 

DOE officials say all the proposals laid out in the draft report protect human health and the environment.

The public comment period will last through March 14. The DOE will then review the comments and come up with a final cleanup proposal.