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tv   In the Dark of the Valley  MSNBC  December 26, 2021 11:00am-2:00pm PST

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to let a former boeing consultant to be on the board is appalling to me. to fail to protect our water-source is wrong. >> thank you. >> hi, my name is melissa bumstead. i live in west hills. i'm the mom to started the petition that has over 600,000 signatures.
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for the full clean up. you're going to hear a lot today. we've got a lot of facts. we know the facts. we're all intelligent people here, but i think what is lacking is courage to dot right thing. so i wanted to bring you my daughter's bides of courage. my daughter's a two-time cancer survivor at 9 years old. >> can you do it? hachoo! you want to go to disney land today? >> yeah. >> okay. let's go to disneyland. >> oh, yeah! are you going to go too? >> i'm coming too. >> she earned all night beads through her cancer treatment program. each bead represents something different, for example, red represents when she had a blood transfusion. black when she got poked with a needle. yellow for in-patient stays. white for chemotherapy. this is what she earned the first month. i'd like to share with you what shy has earned over the last two
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times fighting cancer. a few of the photos, i just want to fly through rile quick of some of the children that we've met who are local. i went to camp with this little boy last weekend. he's about to lose his second eye. this little boy has t-cell leukemia. he's doing all right, he's in remission. we've had several who've passed away. we need to you step in and protect us and protect our children. do the right thing. thank you. >> thank you.
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>> hi. i love you. want to sit on my lap?
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i know you're sore right now. my daughter, grace ellen had just turned 4 years old, when we found bruises all over her body. took her to the pediatrician and found out she had an incredibly rare and aggressive form of childhood leukemia. she had a 20% survival rate. she really endured a lot of suffering that first year. and then she had a year and a half of just wonderful cancer-free childhood. and then gracie's cancer relapsed, and it came back.
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>> it was april 2013, and my daughter hazel was 2. and i was noticing that she was not quite herself. i kept calling the doctors, and everybody was going, it's probably just the flu. and i turned to my husband, and i said my mommy instincts are telling me something's really wrong. i said i don't know why, but i think she has cancer. they performed some blood work tests and ultra sound. after several days of tests, we knew it was neuroblastoma. >> all right, hazel, are you ready for simon says? >> yes. >> simon says touch your nodes. simon says touch your head. simon says touch year ears. simon says say "i love you." >> i love you.
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>> simon says sing "twinkle twinkle." [cheers and applause] >> hazel was in remission for two and a half years. in 2016 she relapsed. >> good job. >> first time grace had cancer, we lived over 100 days at children's hospital in los angeles. >> how cool is that? >> as we were meeting families, we would casually ask, where are you from?
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>> that's exactly what happened with the bumstead family. they were at the hospital the same time we and grace, and her daughter hazel, immediately became friends. they are similar in so many ways. so it felt great to have that connection. ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ happy birthday dear gracie ♪ >> and we found out that we lived within 20 minutes of each other. >> and i kept meeting other families, and they'd say how about that, we live around the corner, two blocks over. three miles, five miles. >> then several other moms and dads in west hills, thousand oaks, and we were really at the time just thankful for it. but i think, as time went on, we're going wait a second, how is it that so many of us live nearby. we're going to children's hospital los angeles. a world-renowned hospital. people are coming from all over the world to come for treatment,
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and yet we're meeting people who live on our street. >> i kept pushing back against my own mental red flags until i met a family that said oh, we live on your street, and granted, we live on a long boulevard. it's three miles, but they lived on our street, and they said my neighbor had the same exact brain cancer that my son had. and there were two of them, neighbors, plus my daughter. that's three on the same street. so i panicked. and i set up a facebook group for all the local cancer parents, and we started mapping ourselves out on google maps. and for a long time we couldn't find the connection. we couldn't see what was going on, but we could tell there were too many of us. and it was about a year after that that someone mentioned the santa susana field, and i had never heard of it. we'd already lived here for seven years. we had to live with the fact that maybe it could have been avoided.
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a wareness brings compassion. and compassion leads to right action. that is what we're missing. i'm daniel hirsch. president of the committee to breach the gap and recently retired from the university of california. on environmental and nuclear policy. >> my name is denise, i'm the associate director for social responsibility los angeles.
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>> in the mid to late 1940s, the u.s. government was trying to find the location this southern california to do nuclear reactor development testing and rocket testing. >> the field lab was originally selected as a location to be away from populated areas, because they knew they were going to be doing research that could be potentially dangerous. >> they did a marvelous study to determine what would be the least-dangerous place to put a reactor testing facility. and the santa susana reactor rated very poorly. they were concerned it could get to populated areas nearby. they chose to cite it anyway. >> santa susana ranked fifth or sixth but it was selected anyway because of the driving time to l.a. >> there was relatively low population density around it. at the time it was established. >> this is a quiet place. the atom at work for peace is
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quiet >> so over the years, they built ten nuclear reactors. plutonium-fueled. dangerous rare earth and made nuclear fuel out of it, and a hot lab in which they shipped in and radiated nuclear fuel to be cut apart. none of those had a containment structure. those domes. they're just regular rooms. >> most well-known of those, a reactor was called the sodium reactor experiment. >> the sodium reactor experiment was different. >> built for industrial application, medical research and scientific exploration. >> on the first full power run, all systems operated smoothly, and full power was obtained with ease. >> for the first time in the united states, an entire community was illuminated by electricity generated by an atomic reactor.
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>> when we lived here before we learned the news it was just utopia. we had a rural atmosphere, close to the city. we had children who loved playing in the creeks. and i thought we'd found a dream place. >> you know, it was the '50s and the '60s. it was magical. in those days we'd go out the door. mom would say come back, you know, before dinner, and it was totally safe. nobody locked their doors. we just played outdoors all day. all the time. >> this is how american families are living in their new homes. >> the valley was the ideal place to go. it was agricultural at that time.
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it was rural and it would have been really the most idyllic place to raise a child but for the story that's unfolding now. >> i think i was 19 years old when i came to california. i started working at atomic center national in santa susana in 1963. i felt a sense of pride to be there and be involved. and avenue worker felt a sense of pride. i didn't know anything about what they were doing where i worked, except it was secret. >> employees of santa susana field laboratory changed the face of humanity. my father was employed by rocketdyne between 1962 and 1969. he was a tester on the saturn five rocket program. i was never concerned about what my father did for a living as a young child.
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he never really elaborated on what their duties were. they were sworn to secrecy. >> we didn't know what we had been dealing with this all these years. >> it just changed. because then we didn't know if we brought our children to a place that could be harmful to them. they loved wading creeks and getting frogs it was scary. it was scary. so, as time went on. it was even worse than we could imagine. [music: sung by craig robinson] ♪ i'm a ganiac, ganiac, check my drawers ♪ [sfx: sniffs / long exhale] ♪ and my clothes smell so much fresher than before ♪
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nicorette knows, quitting smoking is freaking hard. you get advice like: just stop. go for a run. go for 10 runs! run a marathon. instead, start small. with nicorette. which can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette. my name is john base. i was there at the time of the worst nuclear accident in the history of the united states.
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i was 19 when i was hired there in 1959. i didn't even know what a reactor was when i first went to work there. >> fella was sitting at the control desk. looked young to me. are these young men if your organization? >> yes, all of these operators are kind of young fellas. all with a high school education with some major in science. >> it was a cold wartime at that time and i was trying to help the united states outdo the russians. >> on the one side, the forces of freedom. on the other, the forces of communism. >> it was an honor to work there. i was working with the very best scientists in the nuclear business. in fact, the person that overseen the sre reactor was dr. marvin j. fox. he's the one that helped invent the atomic bomb that was dropped on hiroshima.
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and july 13th, about 11:00, usually when i got there on that particular graveyard shift. went in the building. i pulled up to the control room. looking through the door, and i seen my crew was already there. then i looked even closer, and i seen dr. marvin j. fox. and he had two others with him that i wasn't quite sure who they were, and i said man, there's something that's just not right. so i got brave and opened the door real quiet and then, as i stood there, i heard the words coming out of dr. fox's mouth. i herd my supervisor ask, can we tell our families what happened today?
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the three looked at each other for a minute, and dr. fox, he turned around real quick and stared me in the eyes, almost nose to nose. no one had say a word. nobody will say a word. from that point on, there was a coverup of what happened. >> it was the first step in a nuclear nightmare when a government official said that a breakdown in atomic power plant in pennsylvania today is problem lit worst nuclear reactor accident to date. >> i was teaching at ucla in 1979. and there was a sent at a nuclear power plant in harrisburg, pennsylvania called three mile island, and my students wanted to research whether there were nuclear activities in the los angeles area, whether they had any problems, i said sure, if ahead, and within a few weeks they found out there had been a partial meltdown at the nuclear
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reactor that we now call santa susana. they obtained footage. and documents. of the inside of the melted core. >> the fuel swelled in size and structural damage was sustained. >> partial meltdown occurred in a reactor with no containment structure. the radioactivity was so high they had to open this huge garage-type door to try to vent the radioactivity out. to the rest of l.a. one scholar estimated that the release from the melt down could have been 250 times greater than that from three mile island. this is a smaller reactor. it had nothing to prevent the radio activity from getting out. the radiation was clear off the scale. whichever way the wind was blowing, that's where the radiation travels, of course.
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it's like smoke from a fire. the men that was working there, they were so disturbed about it. all that radiation went over their homes. >> five weeks later, the saturday morning papers, and the press release didn't say there was a partial meltdown. or a serious accident. they said just the opposite. the moment they issued that press release. they were venting gases into the environment. >> despite the seriousness of the accident, the official news release claimed there was no indication of unsafe reactor conditions. >> they lied, and i couldn't say a word. 20 years i was silent. want yourl freshly washed all day without heavy perfumes? now they can! with downy light in-wash freshness boosters. just pour a capful of beads into your washing machine before each load. to give your laundry a light scent that lasts longer than detergent alone, with no heavy perfumes or dyes.
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has been showing us films of a nuclear mishap that occurred near los angeles 20 year ago, but which has not been revealed to the public before. >> reaction was located 35 miles from downtown los angeles. it was called the sodium reactor experiment or sre. in 1959 when the fuel rod melted, the general public was not informed. local public safety officials weren't told much either. >> today is the first time you've heard of the '59
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incident. >> certain risks were taken. >> i was really appalled at the sort of the cavalier attitude that they demonstrated. >> it was actually very undramatic. >> it did not appear to be a hazard to the public or to our employees. >> i feel less concerned about it than i would the long-term effect of the smog of los angeles. >> the potential hazard of major release into the environment was just not there. >> it's taken until this week, 20 year later, for the details to be widely broadcast. >> we all have the idea, all of us who were involved in this project that it had been a coverup. we knew that we had to approach this in a very, very careful way. because we knew that we were looking at a very powerful industry that had not been challenged in the way that we were prepared to challenge it
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ever before. it was a scary proposition to take on the nuclear industry. a very scary proposition. >> so the accident at santa susana was serious but room for debate into how it was handled. >> we knew he had something that was very important, particularly in the context of what was going on at three mile island. i think what it reveals is that this great guarantee of the ultimate safety of the industry was a phony. it was fake. wrong. it was one of the worst nuclear accidents in history to that point. >> no one knew until my students uncovered the documents two decades later. >> the material that we got mostly came from an outfit in westwood called bridge the gap, which is an anti-nuclear group.
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>> what happened at santa susana would not have happened at a well-run facility. it was a case of tremendous environmental negligence. they cut corners over and over again. the risks continued for many decades. >> nuclear work was over four decades. the other aerospace work didn't really cease until 2006. so over the course of decades and the course of accidents, spills, releases. some intentional. the soil and the groundwater and surface water runoff has become very contaminated. >> produced by rocketdyne in the canyons of california, sometimes called the power plant, sometimes the booster, is born. >> we knew there were rocket tests. you used to have big booms, and we would see, like mushroom
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clouds above the facility. i would play outside with my friends until it got dark. i'd be in the cul-de-sac. and we'd all look up, and we could hear those roars. >> in california, santa susana mountains, rocket engineers had created the largest laboratory. >> the whole of the island would shudder. >> tens of thousands of rocket tests. and those would produce huge plumes of contamination that would spread a substantial distance. >> engines poured forth their pillars of flame. >> over 30,000 rocket engine tests, and a lot of the contamination at the site is a result of that.
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>> they released hundreds of thousands of gallons of tce in the groundwater. >> there was a hot lab there where they would reprocess spent nuclear fuel shipped in from around the country. they had fires. >> they all fed an open burn pit. there they would take each month gallons of toxic chemicals, shoot at them and workers were and catch fire. workers were killed because they were illegally exposing hazardous material. >> ten nuclear reactors, three of which suffered accident. these activities went on for decades. >> the population just mushroomed around the laboratory. >> and i think anyone who has a fear of anything like that
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should be told. given a chance to say no, i don't want to live here. >> the potential hazard of release in the environment was not there. >> the santa susana lab fill is contaminated with a veritable who's who of toxic chemicals. from heavy metals. and multiple radioactive nucleides. and numerous accidents. we describe not the half-life. the time after was it is half as potent as it degrades. we describe something called its hazardous life, which is equivalent to 20 half lives. the most dangerous. which we have well studied and we have a high awareness of this health impacts that go on for
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these hundreds, if not half million years. >> right now, half a million people live within ten miles of the site. >> i've asked over and over again, where is it safe? where would it be dangerous. and after studying this for almost 40 year, i'm afraid i can't answer that. people need to understand, the laboratory's on a mountain. gravity wants to carry that contamination downhill. there is not a glass wall surrounding santa susana that prevents contaminants. the wind will carry it. there is not a dam wilt around the site so when it rains, the water carries the contamination down the streams.
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you are contaminating everything around the l.a. river. there was a children's camp called the brandeis bardin institute for young children and college students. it is right beneath the santa susana field laboratory. there has been some contamination found on the brandeis property and there is some concern about the children who have been or going to that facility. soil contamination goes down through the camp into the water that percolates into the groundwater. >> this is in our backyard. >> like gel. ew, dude.
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>> i don't know if you know, but ph positive leukemia is extremely rare. would you tell me the isn't that you remember? one in a million. and while we already know that gracie is one in a million, she shouldn't have that kind of diagnosis. you've taught all of us here how to keep going in the face of something difficult. and we'd like to present you with our award. [cheers and applause]
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♪♪ ♪♪ >> my daughter's a fighter. she's incredibly strong.
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i could not be more proud of her. and yet part of me still grieves that she has to be that way. you know, i wish more than anything she could have just had a normal childhood. you know, she was diagnosed when she was 4. that's almost before anyone can have a memory. she was immediately eliminated from being around other kids because of the germ factor, but also my son was so emotionally impacted. both my children lost a big part of their childhood. and that's not fair, we can never get that back. my husband and i are trying to heal our marriage from all the separation and pain that we went through. and then, what's left over is me. but very a lot of friends whose kids are still suffering. she didn't get to make a choice if she wanted her child to live next to this radiation. she probably never heard of it
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before. i don't think any of us should have had to pick up this burden, but i can't unlearn what i know. >> um, so the, the, we'll have to wait for the -- you know what? why don't you tell them i'm being interviewed for a documentary on santa susana and i'll call her when i'm done. put the fear of [ bleep ] god into her. >> the site has three responsible parties. there's the department of energy which leased a part of its property from boeing.
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there's nasa, and then there is boeing itself, which owns most of the site. >> at some point, rocketdyne was sold to rockwell international, and rockwell international eventually sold its rocketdyne division to boeing, and boeing assumed the responsibilities of rocketdyne for santa susana. for the contamination. >> the ultimate regularity is california. and specifically the department of toxic substances control, which is a subdivision of the california epa. they are the ones who gets to say this is what get the cleaned up. >> we have the authority to shut down a business when we feel like the health of the community is at risk. when we see evidence of harm to the environment or human health. just like the men and women who wear it on their uniforms and the country it represents.
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there were a lot of people who had a stake in keeping this story under wraps. i had a number of insiders tell me that people who run this agency have no interest in telling the truth about santa susana. my station broke a huge story back in 1979. a few years ago, that producer of that 1979 report came to see me at knbc and he said there is a lot more to the story than we broke back in '79. you have to continue our work. you have to dig deeper. >> you might wonder why we care about a nuclear accident that happened more than half a
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century ago. because as you're about to see, thousands of people have been secretly exposed to radioactive fallout. >> it was pretty clear to me that there were people inside certain government agencies like the dtse who were very close with boeing. >> that was a very effective way for boeing to buy protection for themselves. i was look into the department of toxic substances control and how it's regulating toxics and we did get very revealing material that showed us that the dtse is what i call a captured agency. it is captured by the regulators. >> insiders at the state department of toxic substance control told us that they were often too lenient with polluters who didn't clean up contamination. >> boeing maintains there's no health impacts from santa
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susana. they have said it's not getting off site at levels that are harmful to human health. that's just not true. >> polluters were very adept at flattering regulators, grooming them. taking them by the hand when they didn't know much. >> i also, as you know, represent many private companies who have found ms. raphael to be balanced, thorough and just as open as she claims to be. >> santa susana is a textbook civil lesson in the way government works. people work in government on an issue, in this case, santa susana, and they leave government, and they can make a lot more money being a lobbyist for the company involved in the issue. in this case, boeing. were hired by boeing, many had >> the flotilla of fixers that were hired by boeing, many had connections to jerry brown or had worked for him. >> it's been like a game of musical chairs.
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a former environmental aide of the state epa. and the former chief lawyer of the dtsc have all switched sides and worked on behalf of boeing to kill a full cleanup of santa susana. >> the santa susana laboratory is a complex cleanup. it costs a lot of money. and anytime it costs a lot of money, there's going to be politics at play. that leads to delay. >> in 2007, there was a consent order signed between the dtsc and the responsible parties that did not establish much of a cleanup standard. it was very weak and it was exactly what boeing wanted. >> it is based off of people being on the site very infrequently. that would result in 98% of the contamination not being cleaned up. people who live near santa susana do not live in recreational areas. they live in residential areas. >> all through the 2000s there
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was an effort to require a full cleanup. then state senator sheila kuehl who represented the area introduced bill after bill. >> workers and neighbors have become sick and too many have died. it's time to require full and complete cleanup. i ask for your aye vote. >> in 2007, she finally got her legislation through. >> believe it or not, under schwarzenegger there was an actual serious effort to clean up that site. but after governor brown came to office, things shifted very dramatically. >> boeing, however, went to court to overturn the law and through some exceedingly troubling action by the brown administration, that lawsuit was lost. within five weeks of jerry brown being sworn in in 2011, a secret stipulation was entered into between the state and boeing in that lawsuit. >> the state of california actually stipulated that they would not contest any material
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fact that boeing would put forward in the suit. and they actually agreed to that stipulation, it's my understanding, before ever having seen the material facts that boeing was going to put forward. the judge found it very easy to overturn the law. >> the state waived the right to dispute anything that boeing might say without knowing what those things would be. >> it was a major blow. and it was exactly what boeing wanted, and they got it. >> there are those who think your agency is too cozy with boeing. >> i haven't seen it, and i've looked for it. >> nasa and the department of energy also signed 2010 agreements with the state of california. and these were actually really historic agreements. and what they do is they say the santa susana field laboratory has to be cleaned up to background levels. and essentially what that means is if there is contamination on-site, it gets cleaned up. >> from your vantage point, what is the status of nasa's actions with respect to the cleanup? >> congresswoman, all that information you just related is
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my understanding as well as where we are. and nasa is committed to fulfilling our obligations under the afc. >> i'm tired of fighting. let's clean up the background. let's get this site closed. yes, things happen. yes, they are unfortunate. and we've made a commitment to clean it up. >> that cleanup was supposed to have already been concluded by 2017. and boeing and the federal agencies have ensured it hasn't even started. and i'm certain that these federal agencies do not want to set a precedent in terms of really cleaning up to a proper standard. and what happens when you cut your corners on safety is you kill people. and that's exactly what boeing did with the 737-max. that is their style. >> the department of energy, nasa, and boeing have made repeated promises to clean up, as has the state toxics agency that oversees them. and those promises have been broken again and again.
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>> will anyone from your agency talk to us at all? >> my public people have talked to you. >> we've made a commitment to clean it up. >> i've said all i'm going to say. >> at the end of the day, it's the right thing to do. >> you've said nothing. >> and that means that there have been years and years of additional migration possible that wouldn't have been possible if they had lived up to the commitments. >> it's my commitment to the people of california that when i'm gone, i've left in place a system that is robust, defensible, and meaningful for the future. >> can you see how some people would think this is more lip service? >> i would hope they wouldn't. most bladder leak pads were similar. until always discreet invented a pad that protects differently. with two rapiddry layers. for strong protection, that's always discreet.
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unleash the freshness... still fresh. voiceover: 'cause she's a biker... in wash-scent booster. ♪ downy unstopables you're going about your buds, and from out of nowhere, everything is different. >> it is truly the biggest nightmare a parent could ever imagine. >> in 2006, there were a cluster of retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer affecting young children. there is just under 300 diagnosed in the united states, and there were 11 cases right near the site.
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we have very, very strong evidence that the first group of mothers whose children suffered from retinoblastoma did sue boeing and did settle and as part of that settlement were no longer allowed to talk to the media or get involved. if you have a child with cancer, it's very expensive. i know one mother in particular i talked to recently who their family is medically bankrupt now caring for their daughter. so i can understand if i was one of those mothers why they might have went with that agreement. and now several years later, we're seeing new cases of pediatric cancers that are near the site. >> exposes you to some increased risk of background of cancer, particularly for pregnant women and children. >> the beer 7 report which came out in 2006, that landmark study ended up showing that there is no linear threshold, that any level, any level of radionucleide exposure above
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background had an inherent increased risk of cancer. there is a dramatic increase in very rare and bizarre cancers that typically may happen a few times across the nation. and what we've been noting over the years is we have children who are not one, but two or three or four children within the community surrounding the test lab have these unusual cancers. >> boeing itself did risk assessments of what the risk would be if someone were to live on the property, and their own estimate for some of the locations was that the cancer risk was as high as 96 out of 100. meaning if 100 people lived there, 96 would get cancer from the contamination. epa and dtsc normally require that the risk be capped at 1 in a million. so you can see how serious the contamination is and how large the problem would be if they left it behind. >> we found documents that show
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the radiation has moved offsite, including at the brandeis bardin institute. >> my name is lee bycel and i was the president of the brandeis bardin institute. prior to accepting the job, i asked the chair of the board if there was anything i needed to be worried about, and she said it's all good. we've had a settlement, and everything in that land has been cleaned up, and there is nothing to worry about. >> i think one of the most surprising documents we unearthed was an internal report commissioned by the camp that proved there was a lot of contamination from santa susana that ran down into this children's camp. and it was the basis for the camp suing the owners of the field lab and then secretly settling that lawsuit. >> so when i hear about a settlement, what comes to mind is that there is liability there. we don't often want to hear the dark side of things. we don't often want to hear that
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there is something wrong. they have not been transparent in exactly what is going on up there, even now. >> how can one person be diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 4, two recurrences and end up with an extremely rare uterine cancer with no family history of any kind? >> we were four women. we're all cancer-free, and now fast forward, we're only one cancer-free. >> i had stage 3 to 4 bladder cancer. i just was shocked. and then i was so angry. >> my mother was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2001. she passed away seven weeks later at the age of 58. and my father was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. in 2003. he passed away in 2010. >> my middle daughter was
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diagnosed with goiter and that turned into thyroid cancer. my father survived his cancer and my mother suffered with ovarian cancer and colon cancer and she couldn't take it. so my mom actually ended up committing suicide. my oldest sister was diagnosed with brain cancer and glioblastoma. as she was dying two years later, her own daughter was diagnosed with cancer, too, and she passed about just eight months after my sister. >> to hear that your child has a life-threatening disease absolutely shakes you to your core. >> it was really, really devastating to the family. every day was like the rug was being taken out from under us. >> our world ended on that day. and this new reality had to come into existence. >> i thought she was going beat it. i really did. she didn't. i think we were just in denial.
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>> it's a beautiful thing to be in denial because you get to enjoy every moment, you know. so that's the best thing. >> i can't just leave. it's hard to give everything up because somebody can't do the right thing. >> where do you go that you really know you're safe, you know? i mean, i moved here thinking i was safe. >> and why should we leave? we came here in good faith. why should we leave? they need to clean up their crap. >> you can't sit back and pretend it's not real. you have to do something. >> who is the person who could make a difference in all of this? who can make a difference? ♪♪
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i'm never not thinking about it. and i'm never not thinking about how we can -- we can change things because it's not only my community we're trying to protect, we live here. my kids live here. >> are you ready? look both ways. good. let's cross. >> i do not. >> i never thought i was smart growing up. i never trusted myself, and i never really valued myself.
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i do feel incredibly small. and it's hard to say that, because with that comes the lack of control that i feel. when gracie got diagnosed, there was this one moment in the hospital where, you know, she had a port underneath her skin, and they had to pierce the port with a needle to get her chemo or blood transfusions or whatever it was she needed. but they had a very specific process of cleaning and sterilizing all the equipment before you attach the tube. two days earlier, i had had a huge lesson on how to do it properly because we had to do that at home. and we were in the operating room, and i saw the nurse wipe it twice, and they were supposed to do at least ten seconds of that. and then they're supposed to let it dry for 20 seconds. and in that one second, i realized i need to say
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something. i need to stop this woman because if she does that and there is bacteria, it can go straight into gracie's bloodstream through her heart. it can kill her. in that same exact second, i thought if i say something, she'll say what do you know? you're not trained. i'm a nurse. you're not. how dare you? i'm an authority figure, you are not. i'm going to embarrass you for bringing this up and rocking the boat. and as she is going to get her, i didn't do anything because i ended up being more afraid of what she would say than protecting my daughter. and thank god nothing happened. but i swore that moment, i will never, ever let my children be put in danger because i was too scared to speak up. and i think that was the day i decided i'm going to hurt either way. i might as well make a difference.
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>> melissa bumstead. >> melissa bumstead. >> melissa bumstead. >> i hope i'm not talking too fast, but i'm pretty nervous. this is alarming, and we are concerned. the cancer moms in my community. these children are on my street that had it. ♪♪ >> hi! >> a group of seven mothers and i, not really understanding what we were doing, came to our first dtse department of toxic control meeting to find out what is wrong. are we in danger? and that was the fist day i realized we are in danger. through the petition, we started to get traction. and people started to care, and i realized we weren't alone in this fight. >> i'm a homeschool teacher and i'm not irrational. >> we're here because of numerous failures of legislators to protect the people. >> reasonable people look at this and they say this should not be happening. >> i got up there and i was shaking my hand. how dare you do this to my
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community? you're lying about this, trying to confuse all of us? why would you do all this? >> because it's cheaper for bowing to pay the relatively measley fees your board enforces than to clean up your mess. you regulate boeing, not the other way around. force to be reckoned with. ♪ papa was a rolling stone wherever he laid his hat was his home ♪ >> i've really changed. i've really healed, and now i am willing to have confrontation not for confrontation's sake, but to protect people that i care about. not that it's -- you know, i still wanted to throw up afterwards. >> she has always been fierce. her motivation to never stop just keeps getting stronger and stronger. >> melissa bumstead is a super hero. >> i've never met anyone like her. >> she is the face of this cleanup. >> she has to keep going. >> people like melissa will change the tide of this fight. i know she has changed it already. >> there is nothing like a mom wanting to protect her children. there is no force on earth that is more powerful. >> my daughter went through excruciating pain, and she buried two of her friends last year. we are praying to god that we
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finally get the cleanup because sometimes i can't sleep at night, worrying that my children are in danger. and i know i'm not the only one. >> but what people maybe don't remember is that we're fitting a lifetime into a year or two or three or five >> yes. >> and that's so powerful. >> portfolio, the future, and that's true. it's true for all of us. >> one of the things i wish we could have done, because she was in the process of getting a second wish granted. >> yeah. >> and her wish was to go to kleinfeld's in new york and try on wedding dresses because her favorite show was "say yes to the dress." >> right. >> we would watch it in the hospital all the time. and we got approved, and we were planning it in january of last year. >> right. >> and we were going to try to go in april. >> yeah. >> but -- but she didn't get to.
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and sometimes it's really hard because like, oh gosh, she never got to try on a wedding dress. she'll never get to walk down the aisle. like you said, we're trying to fit in a lifetime. >> right. >> in just a small number of years. and that's -- that's so powerful. >> the day she passed away, my husband and i, we weren't -- we weren't ready to go home. we left her at the hospital, and that was the hardest thing we ever had to do was to leave there without her. it was so hard to trust in anything because all you feel is that tangible loss. >> keep praying and stay strong. >> i tried to get to a protest the other day, but my body wouldn't let me.
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melissa and i tell each other all the time just do what you can, and that's okay and don't feel bad. but it was hard because i continued to feel guilty because i was like this fight doesn't stop just because i do. but watching what melissa has done over this last year has just been remarkable. being a mom is hard enough. being a mom of a child who has cancer makes it harder. and being a mom who is trying to protect all the kids in her community from some insidious exposure, the level of responsibility you end up taking on and feeling is daunting and draining and overwhelming. i've seen the toll that it's taken on her because it's frustrating when people don't listen. but she still gets up, and she still fights, and she still is
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pushing so hard. because she's watched her friends bury their children. >> melissa is the key to the cleanup. melissa now is leading the community in this effort, and her voice is critical in the leadership that she has shown in organizing her community is critical. and that will make or break everything. anything else that is worth putting a flag on.
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>> but i was thinking something like this may be good to put out to the community. we're trying to figure out how to message it. >> right. >> to the right target. and we don't really know what the right next target is. >> right. >> and then randomly -- >> i admire melissa more than i can begin to say. she has taken this personal tragedy and used that as motivation and energy to try to protect others. and i've been in meetings where melissa and grace have gone to meet with state senators, and they touched their hearts some. it becomes much easier to do what a polluter wants you to do if you don't see who gets hurt from it. >> we really have to look to our decision makers to commit to us that the site will be fully cleaned up in a timely manner, and that they will make that a priority. >> how did you feel about the meeting, melissa? >> it sounds like she is talking like a human instead of a politician. i mean, it doesn't mean that they'll actually do it, like you said.
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>> the hundreds of thousands of signatures on the petition has turned things around quite a bit. the question is, is it enough? you can always spot a first time gain flings user. ♪ there is no place like home y'all! and these people know that there is no place like wayfair. i never thought i'd buy a pink velvet sofa, but when i saw it, i was like 'ah'. and then i sat on it, and i was like 'ooh'. ooh! stylish and napable.
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hmm. uh-huh. well, it sounds like they're driving through the campaign trail, and we fit in it. he said they're going bring a lot of film cameras, national news. okay. what if he is not ready to sign, like they know he is not ready to sign? but that's a conversation that he might go to immediately. because i'm going to call him. he asked that i would call. >> hi, hon. how you doing? >> right. yep, yep. yep. okay, okay. right. okay.
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okay. yeah. good, at least i -- okay. thank you so much, you guys. i so appreciate you. all right. all right. bye. hey, hon. >> i got a call from john cox's campaign manager. they weren't really making a huge effort. and now it's four days before the election, and all of the sudden they're like hounding me to come host this thing where cox can step in with all these, you know, crying cancer moms. and it was so much pressure and such a short amount of time to try to figure things out. you know, denise has been great and saying, melissa, in the end this has to be your call because this is your community, and you need to do what you feel is right. and dan is going you can't do this. you're walking into a trap, essentially.
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and so, when i got that word, i called them up and said, i've been praying about it. i don't feel good about it. i'm sorry. i just can't do it. and so i canceled. i hate that. i hate that politics has to be a part of anything i do, to be honest. i just like to be honest and do what i feel is right and kind of always have my cards out. i don't even know if i made the right choice. and now people are mad at me, and i don't know if they're right or wrong. i don't know anything. i just feel like i don't know anything. and then dan is saying -- i know he is trying to be nice, but i kind of wish he hadn't. he is saying it's kind of on your shoulders now, melissa. you've got to make this happen or we're all going to lose. some people are trying to say these people are using you and these people are using you. i'm a very small person, you know. this is not what i thought my life would be. and i feel so little and i feel so powerless right now. and it doesn't stop.
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and then i have these little times of melting down, and then i pack it up and wash my face, and i go pick up the kids from school, and life just moves on. i think that's all i have to say. >> i've been dealing with the santa susana facility for 39 years. i tried to walk away from the santa susana issue several years ago after the aoc was signed i thought there is no real need for me to continue. it was going get cleaned up. and then when the administration started to undo it, i failed at trying to stop them, but i have not been able to somehow break what i feel is a promise i made to those people, even though it was a promise i had no idea could take so long. >> santa susana is not for the faint-hearted.
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it's a long, complicated struggle. i'm an advocate. we've been working for 30 years with other groups who have invested a similar amount of time. so it's hard to not also wonder, you know, what more -- is there anything more that could have been done. >> it's a fight between those who have conscience and those whose concern is primarily power and profit. these fights never end, and if you don't fight them, you always lose.
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>> right now this fire is still growing pretty quickly here, blowing out of the north-northeast. and still continuing at about 35 to 40 miles per hour. >> launch, we're looking at some of these hot spots out here, and it is very disheartening for any of the folks that are living nearby. >> the woolsey fire now over 30,000 acres. >> it's just a monster, a nightmare. >> this entire neighborhood has been obliterated. all the mountains around here are scorched. >> the winds out here not really helping the situation. >> this fire is fast. it is fueled by the santa ana winds. >> flames continuing to burn. we have been seeing this really run down the hillside. you really can see how vast this wildfire is.
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threatening tens of thousands of homes. >> firefighters doing everything they can to slow this thing down. this fire here is still being very stubborn, working its way out of the rocketdyne complex over into bell canyon. there's fire all the way around them and then you have the large fuel cell. >> and it is terrible the air quality sought here as well. we had to get to breathe around here. >> our worst fear for 15 years, that if a fire ever happened at the lab, it would be the easiest way for those contaminants to get to the public, and here it's happened. o worry. the pre-treaters are built in. tide pods dissolve even when the water is freezing. nice! if it's got to be clean, it's got to be tide. age before beauty?
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there are three questions that we're investigating about the devastating woolsey fire. where and how did the fire start? and is the smoke, the smoke that is still rising from the ground, toxic? >> there is mounting evidence that the fire started at the santa susana field lab. >> there is growing concern over toxic fallout from the woolsey fire. >> government officials say testing shows the air is safe. some doctors and advocates call that a smoke screen. >> smoke from any brush fire is dangerous to inhale. in this case with these very hazardous element, it makes it far more dangerous. >> a statement today from the department of toxic substances control says initial tests show -- >> initial news release show there is no -- >> no risk to people living nearby. >> it did not appear to be a
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hazard to the public. >> no discernible signs of radiation. >> the potential hazard of major release into the environment was just not there. >> what is significant about the woolsey fire is that it started on the property of the santa susana field laboratory. it's very distressing when you know how terribly polluted it is to then turn on the television and see it in flames. after the fire, 80% of the site burned. we have learned since then that nasa took down tanks and piping and removed a fire station that had they been in place could have put that fire out. regardless of what happens to the site, it's always going to be in a fire risk area. so why would we remove water tanks and piping i don't know. >> not keeping fire systems up to date to me is a cardinal sin.
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i've worked in nuclear radiation, radiological cleanup. those sites have multiple fire crews, multiple approximately trucks, tons of equipment because it's a legitimate concern. there is no secret surrounding the state of california and fires that happen here. >> after the fire, dtsc released an interim report. for them to release a report that shows them doing air monitoring after the fire is silly. the greatest risk was during the fire. they have now admitted that the burned vegetation made the contaminants in the soil more mobile. and that's part of the reason why we have these 57 exceedences in storm water runoff after the fire. but the bottom line is if it had been cleaned up as it should have been by 2017, we wouldn't be having this conversation. >> the vegetation on-site is contaminated. and as the vegetation burned, it then aerosolized high up into the atmosphere and was able to spread across the basin.
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our concern, admittedly for the fire was that the contamination probably spread mainly the toxic chemicals which come from the burning of fuels and the rocket engine firings, the dangerous levels of exposure to chemical contaminants somewhat follow a similar pattern to the radio nucleotides. every level increases the risk. >> much like chernobyl, the burning of those things, you had ash and small pieces of what would be considered "nothing" falling on people and killed hundreds of people. the people on those bridges, the people in those cities didn't realize there was some massive level of misinformation given. boeing has come out and said yeah, absolutely, all of these exceedences came from the fire. i mean, they can't deny that. what they're trying to deny is the impact that it could have. there are people close enough to that site that absolutely suffered the effects of it, and they will. >> my name is mike stenstrom.
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i'm a member of the expert panel. i'd like to say we've been involved in this, the panel has, since almost the inception of the fire. we're an independent panel. we are funded by boeing and we've been using geosyntec to assist us. but you see there is a trend of decreasing exceedences as we move forward in time. >> concentration over the course of the season are returning to prefire levels. >> what we have here is a lot of exceedences in areas where you don't see a lot of legacy contamination. >> so the system is already recovering, and we're happy about that. >> i'm the associate director of physicians for social responsibility los angeles. i feel like i'm living in an alternate universe, though, after this very orwellian presentation. it's 57 exceedences in violation is astonishing. the expert panel is paid by boeing.
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that begs a lot of credulity on their independence. >> it's an open seeping wound in our community that threatens our public health every time it rains or the wind blows or the fires burn. i live in simi valley. i have a 3-year-old. i'm a golden state water customer. i've got groundwater from below ssfl pumped in with every meal, every bath. it's your job to protect my water source. you regulate boeing, not the other way around. >> thank you. >> i'm a little disappointed today. i had actually assumed that it would be an independent panel, expert panel speaking today. i didn't know anything about politics until the last five years, and i've learned that you always have to follow the money. that's the basic understanding of how america works these days, unfortunately. i was very disappointed. i'm sure their intellect is better than mine, hands-down. however, that's not an independent panel.
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and the people of los angeles deserve better on such a critically important issue. we've got a lot of facts. we know the facts. we're all intelligent people here. but what i think is lacking is courage to do the right thing. and so i wanted to bring you my daughter's beads of courage. my daughter is a two-time cancer survivor at 9 years old. i heard a lot of good news about nominal exceedences, but you need to understand that these exceedences affect us. we've come to find out that our area is above the national average for childhood cancers. we've had several who have passed away, and this is the cost of exceedences. and i would really ask you to have the courage to do the right thing. thank you. >> thank you.
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>> this was part of what was so amazing about this story to me. i grew up near the field lab. thousands of people have lived near the field lab, and most people have never heard of it. the santa susana issue was almost dead, and that fire jump-started a whole new round of tension. ♪♪ >> millions are learning about the toxic threat from the contaminated santa susana field lab, all because of tweets from the kardashians. >> when the woolsey fire hit, it blew up. >> without a doubt there is new life. people are paying attention. >> people are listening. >> the community support has radically changed. kim kardashian tweeted. all of the sudden we've got 100,000 shares on a tweet. >> kim kardashian telling her 58 million twitter followers she is
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shocked and furious to learn that woolsey fire started at santa susana and is potentially radioactive. >> the reporting we did brought some attention, but of course, the kardashians can bring the issue way more attention. >> people are believing in this, you know. this is the real thing. we're not just playing games anymore. >> come on, guys. we're going to go on the other side of the sign, okay? these are all my other children here. >> and seeing enough happening that i am hopeful. it could be ripped out from underneath us in any minute. >> i know what it's like to lose a child from cancer, and nobody should ever have to face that again. ♪ you can't break me down ♪ ♪ i got gas in the tank i got money in the bank i got news for you baby ♪ >> it happened so fast, i'm still out of breath. we're trying to put together a coalition with all of our elected officials. people need to stop passing the ball. take leadership. ♪♪
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♪ who's the man ♪ ♪ i'm the man ♪ >> they're counting on us not being able to see the bigger picture. >> i really hope we're not sitting here in ten years on the follow-unof why the damn cleanup never happened. >> you never know what domino we're setting into effect when we just do what we can. >> mr. secretary, so you're supposed to be completed by 2017. you haven't started by 2019. will you come to the san fernando valley and explain to people when this site will be cleaned up? >> the cleanup timeline was 2017 back in 2010, and it's 2019 and we haven't gotten started. >> the level of toxicity, the history there is just depressing. it's a complete mess. >> when i got to say i'm the mom
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that started to petition, we have 650,000 signatures. did you say 250,000? no. 650,000. all of the sudden they're oh, tell me more. what was your name again? where are you from? >> it's not about winning or being right. it's about children. it's about families. it's about quality of life. >> i know that there is a risk of a large segment of this community and maybe even the larger los angeles area looking at this and questioning our sanity. but i would urge anybody to put on your reading glasses and whip out that 13 pages. it's only 13 pages. 2007 epa report, preliminary report at the santa susana field lab. and then call me crazy. it is as if the officials have not read the data, as if they're completely unaware that the citizens could be at risk. and that was alarming to me because i felt like we weren't being taken seriously.
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it makes me sick that these women have given so selflessly of themselves and have fought and continue to fight. this is not what they want to talk about over dinner. they don't want to sit up and read epa documents. they want to have a good time. they want to have a barbecue, and they want to watch their kids play in the yard. and i want that, too. sorry. i want that, too. and i want that for my family. but i can read. i'm not going to pretend that i didn't read it. sorry. help prevent them with downy wrinkleguard. feel the difference with downy.
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♪♪ >> merry christmas. ♪♪ >> the time is now to get the bull moving. my goal has been to change and improve i would say the culture of the department of toxic substance control. they are the regulator. they set the cleanup standards. this is not an ongoing negotiation. the polluters have a role. they have to pay for it, and they have to adhere to the standards that we have. these entities, boeing in 2007, department of energy and nasa in 2010, entered into agreements. those are legally binding agreements.
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we will hold them to those agreements. >> we'll see. >> we'll see. >> i have no faith. >> given the length of time that the cleanup plans have been made and broken, it's always a concern that this will go into another administration. >> they signed a legal binding document in 2010 when we thought we had won the victory. >> additionally studies performed after signing the aoc identified less contamination than previously projected. >> we had no idea it was all going to get thrown apart. >> i am a two-time cancer survivor. it has turned my life upside down, and i never feel safe living here. i want to feel safe. >> folks, this way. >> we're here at the nasa meeting right now. they're trying to justify why they should be able to leave contaminated waste in our community. >> i want to show you one of these justifications that i can't believe, and i've seen a lot of falsehoods. this one is amazing. >> oh, my gosh.
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>> found no discernible differences to health and safety across the action alternatives. that's absurd. >> nasa claims that under federal environmental law that they have to look at different alternative ways to clean up the santa susana field laboratory. they're wrong. california has been clear over the years that the level that the site has to be cleaned up to is to background. so if there is contamination, it gets cleaned up. >> we clearly signed an agreement for full cleanup, and they have proposed at least two meetings to break those and walk away from the contamination. >> if they found contamination on the surface, they're saying we're going have to dig 20 feet down to bedrock, and that's going moonscape the property. you don't have to dig 20 feet down to remove contamination that's on the surface. they're doing that to try to scare people about trucks and moonscaping and all of that stuff. >> what nasa and the department of energy have been doing in the past few years is looking at different levels of cleanup rather than different ways of
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reaching the standards that california has set. >> their stated thing is we did more work, we found more contamination. that would result in even more damage. so we want to do the recreational cleanup. >> recreational measures are just -- it's an absolute joke. that's almost doing nothing. >> it's not okay to just clean it up a little bit. it's kind of like you can't be just a little bit pregnant. either you're radioactive or you're not. >> nasa says that it will take 25 years to remove the soil that needs to be removed in order to comply with the administrative order on consent. >> and reaching out to larger contractors in the industry, all these guys agreed to the same level that they are likely inflating numbers to get an approval to not go that far. >> for the department of energy and nasa to be successful in walking away from santa susana field lab, all that has to happen is that nobody stands in their way.
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>> in order to make our informed public comment, we need to have some visuals. >> when you go the a public place and everybody says they have their exhibit set up, to come in and set another one. >> i'm on the board of supervisors and what we do during public comments is we give an opportunity, a platform, if they have a power point so they can show the power -- >> they have an opportunity. >> in public hearings, when they were done the way they used to do them, we would stand in front of the microphone, and people before the responsible party, before their community members speak for two minutes and give their input on a proposal before them. nasa just destroyed all of that. >> this whole thing was set up intentionally to prevent people making informed public comment. no presentation. the community needs to hear the truth, and we're the ones who can do it. we're going to do it as part of our public comment. >> but they put the public on for their display. all the things -- >> this is maps they're not going to show people. >> they feel is going to take away -- >> it's a public hearing.
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>> everybody, nasa is preventing public comment on their eis that breaks their cleanup commitment. people want to be able to show you lou they're violating the law, and physically is physically blocking you from seeing it. >> free speech, free speech! >> free speech! >> this is live right now, you guys. this is crazy. they set this up in this kind of a situation where we don't have a microphone like we normally do to say our problems. >> and as "the l.a. times" -- >> the court reporter is at a little table in the corner that's not marked, trying to limit public participation, prevent the media from knowing how much we disliked the proposal and prevent officials from knowing it, too. there is a protocol for how public hearings are handled, and that's not it. >> the only option we have right now is to try to read our comments loudly. and that's just absurd. >> the majority of its contamination not cleaned up.
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this is illegal and a direct threat to public health and the environment. nasa is preparing the supplemental dis. >> folks? folks? they are trying to evict me before i can make my public comments. >> he should be able to give three minutes and then you can do what you want. >> free speech! >> trespassing. >> trespassing? this is a public meeting. [ cheering ] >> free speech, free speech! free speech! free speech! >> you willingly left. >> no, you ordered me to leave. >> i did say you have to leave. >> yes. you ordered me to leave. before i could make my comment to the government, period. there is a lot at stake here that side is dangerous. it was a legal process that i was supposed to go before that and make comments and you
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barred me from doing that. >> in 50 years of this kind of work, i have never experienced such a thing. nasa knows what it is proposing to do is indefensible, and they took every measure that they could to prevent the public from hearing about it. >> for the responsible parties, this is a game. nasa and boeing continue to put forth a story line that their recommendations, their offerings of cleanup are adequate. and we know as we've alluded to that so many of the agents, there is absolutely no safe level. and again, if there is no safe level and you far exceed those levels on-site, and again, we know that those contaminants migrate offsite under the appropriate environmental conditions, there is no way that can protect the community around them.
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and you can get unlimited data for just $30 per line per month when you get four lines or mix and match data options. available now for comcast business internet customers with no line-activation fees or term contract required. see if you can save by switching today. comcast business. powering possibilities. an emergency has been declared at the hanford nuclear reservation in southeastern washington state.
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>> potential exposure to people living near coldwater creek in north st. louis county. >> enriched uranium was detected inside zahn's corner middle school. >> botched cleanup at san francisco's hunter's point has residents taking matters into their own hands. >> there are calls tonight for a new investigation into another possible cancer cluster in indiana. >> just sit and think that over and over again, this was brought to you, and over and other again we said our kids are sick. >> something that felt like a very isolated problem in my community, it's a little bit terrifying to realize this is happening all over the country. >> we sat in a room and listened to people from other areas list exact same issues -- poorly or unlined pits, massive dumping, open air tests. i was completely chilled to my core because i realized this isn't an accident. nor is it a mistake. >> there are many santa susanas all across this country. that remain highly contaminated
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in threatened communities and have not been cleaned up. >> it's all across america. it's the same players. different humans, but the same agencies, the same attitudes. >> let's face it. this community has been traumatized enough. >> if it wasn't for this group of moms that made this facebook page, i would have not known. >> there is an endemic problem with the whole system. you can have wonderful environmental laws and we have really powerful ones, but if they're not enforced, they're useless. and that has happened dozens and dozens of toxic sites in the state of california. and probably is emblematic of what goes on unfortunately all over the country. >> those stories are not uncommon where you have entire towns having these similar issues and until it's completely undeniable, nothing is done. >> committee on oversight and investigations would now come to order. i would now like to introduce the honorable anne white who is
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the assistant secretary office of department of environmental management, department of energy. >> honored chair, the government's nuclear defense programs played an integral role in ending world war ii and the cold war. our nation was unified to end those wars. that kind of resolve and unity of purpose is needed today as we address the resulting environmental legacy. we remain committed to completing cleanups so our host communities can envision a vibrant future. we can continue to live in the past or we can choose to understand the past, make course corrections, and move forward with collaborative solutions. it's time to choose the latter. >> you know, i've been on this committee a long time. we've seen d.o.e. make these promises before with regards to cleanup operations. >> what exactly does it mean that d.o.e.'s environmental management office does not follow leading management practices? >> anybody who has been on this job site should be fired. they're not doing their job
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right. >> where does hanford sit? it sits on the columbia river. where does savannah site sit? it sits on the savannah river. these are areas that are environmentally sensitive. >> look, i'm not a nuclear engineer, but i'm a mom and a citizen, and i can tell you that leaving it out there longer, waiting for some type of accident is not making our constituents across this country safer. >> we need to do better in program and project management. and i think we can do better. >> i do not believe government has done enough to try and build that bridge of trust. my name is anne white, and my position was assistant secretary of energy for environmental management, referred to as em1. obviously when you've got portions of the public all over the country who are unhappy with
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what you're doing, you're probably not doing enough. especially for a site like santa susana. a small site. it doesn't even usually come to the radar of an em1. it's tough. those kind of big bureaucracies are very challenging. it kind of just felt sometimes like a culture of molasses. >> and yet we seem no closer to cleaning up the sites or reducing the department's environmental liabilities. >> em cleanup right now is the third biggest liability to the u.s. taxpayers. we throw $7 billion a year into that pot, and the liabilities don't go down. >> did the taxpayer get good value for the $6 billion em roughly spent last year on nuclear waste cleanup? >> i believe the taxpayer got good value for their money. we can do better, though. >> so many of these sites are in places where they are the only
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game in town in terms of employment. if the cleanup gets completed, the jobs go away. and so, to some degree, em has become a jobs program. >> cleanup of these sites is critically important. we need to have it happen. and we can't be sitting here again in five, ten, or 20 years hoping that it will. >> the actions em needs to take involve significant cultural change at d.o.e. headquarters, the sites, and the contractors. >> when it involves kids and moms and all of these things, maybe they've been heard, but not listened to. and there's a difference i suppose. there is a big difference. and at santa susana right now, honestly, the conversation, well, could be so poisoned that there is no reverse gear in terms of building that trust. you just maybe never come to common ground, and that's a pity.
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but that's maybe the nature of the beast there, unfortunately. >> last year i didn't have enough energy for it, i think. i don't know if daddy will want me to do it this year. >> yeah. it is his car now. >> maybe put up posters instead. you need to push down your cuticle. but i'll come back to that one. >> thanks. it's pretty. >> it is pretty. i like how glittery it is. >> i feel more hopeful even though right now things are looking pretty glum again for the cleanup right now. i am more at peace with the thought that this could be the rest of my life.
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before that thought was just too frightening. i feel like whether or not it is the santa susana field lab or helping other sites, if this were to be the rest of my life i wouldn't fight it. i had my own plans for my life. i wanted to go on to illustrate kids books and be an author and garden. i had a really simple life planned out and it sounded just fantastic and the thought of not getting to have time to excel at any of those things was really hard. as i was praying about it i felt like god said i'm allowed to have a hobby. all right. i can take my dreams and let them be a hobby and doing this is more important than anything i had planned. i definitely feel like this is where i'm supposed to be in my
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life right now. it took gracie is lot of hard work and time to really kind of be a regular kid again. she's not a kind of kid to just lay down and take it. she's really strong. but the health effects will follow her all the rest of her life. i have had some people accuse me of to using grace's story. to some degree that's really true. if i could have brought people's hearts along without having to show gracie's story i wouldn't have. but if it helps other families not go through this same thing then i don't regret it and i don't think grace would regret it. i think she understands that we're willing to do anything to protect other kids from what she's gone through.
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>> like seeing her name, and like, her birthday and stuff, it is just so final. sorry.
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the santa susana field lab is -- i wouldn't say it's always in the front of my mind but it is consistently in the back of my mind. when i give my kids water or give them a bath. in the back of my mind when i see a new kid diagnosed. when i see another kid who's passed away. it's a hard one. i know i can't put all of my energy there. i'm still working my way back to being fully present with everybody, and my kids need their mom. i've been slowly putting pieces back together and i'm not as lost. i'm still lost but not as lost
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if that makes sense. for me i know i can never give up trying to fight but i also know that i have to use this brain sparingly because it's focused on so many different things right now. i'm trying to heal, trying to process, trying to grieve, trying to be a mom. but it is always there. it's always this lingering question in my mind. it's always this idea that is there. and it can't be quieted until it's cleaned up, i think. ♪♪ >> i hope that there's an end to this story. given what's happening in our country, i worry about all of our efforts to protect public
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health. i worry that focusing on santa susana will seem like a lex you, the days have passed when you could fight a fight and you might just win and could get an agreement own do community organizing and you could speak freely. >> we have in a world of distraction and self centeredness. we don't sense any connection to others, particularly to those that suffer. every day people who are affected by polluters have being walked all over. the damage that's done will last for centuries. we simply have to keep fighting it. >> i've been a reporter for 38 years. i have seen for just about everything. i was surprised government officials looked me in the eye and said santa susana is not a problem even when there's so
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many government documents that said otherwise. the public knows there's something here. the truth always comes out in the end. >> i think it takes an enormous amount of courage and work to see there's accountability and that something is done. it's up to the mothers and others who have the courage, have the time to make sure there's something that happens. it may be the only way. >> who will be the next child, the next person in your community? you don't give up on something like this because it's the right thing to do. when the people lead the leaders will follow. >> being in a lull right now doesn't feel like it defeat. it feels like part of the journey, and the thing that's heart breaking is that it's just going to continue but it's the kids that have to suffer and the
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parents who have to bury them that have to bear that for the rest of their lives. i'm not going to stop, so we'll just have to find out who has more endurance, me or them maybe. xxxx
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my name is nilson. i'm originally from honduras. my father is a citizen. my wife is a citizen. my son has been born here. my mom is a legal resident. i've been here for 20 years. so why is the point of i.c.e. having me here for? [ speaking spanish ]
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>> covid-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. >> all over italy, a country of 60 million people, is effectively now a red zone. >> covid-19 is sweeping through the country's jail just they have proven to be a breeding
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ground for contagion. >> how's everybody doing? how are you thinking about what's happening out here? this coronavirus thing. >> everybody is here under a lot of stress. we see what's happening outside, and how fast it's been moving. once it gets in here, we are all at complete risk. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the guards, they only wear their face mask on monday and now they don't even have it on
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at all. you can see one up there. >> there are no practicing it. which is the social distance, the six feet. we're 32 people in here. there's no way we're going to practice that. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i got three problems for what i am trading. which is high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. these are the medicine i have to take every day. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> i am concern because at this point my health is at risk. it's not easy to be here right now. they are telling us to put -- to move. alpha is the place. we don't exactly the reason why. but what we know is that they're going to put news a more worse condition. if they use there's going to be a big issue. >> who said they are? >> we all did. we all said we're not moving. you think we all fit in the hole? they can't put us all in the hole? [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> the warden make a declaration saying there was somebody here tested positive for coronavirus and is here. >> i'm really scared i'm going to die. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the woman communicated with us. they saent note through the laundry bag to say they're going to go on strike. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> we started this friday by refusing dinner and refused to work for this facility until i.c.e. free us. [ speaking foreign language ] >> how are you feeling about this? i mean, like, it's reached this point but, also, you don't know what they're going to do. >> i've tried to be strong, to
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hold on. it's real he hard. there is so much going on outside. they've been forgetting about us. if you can call me after -- >> can you just keep it running? >> there is nobody infected in this facility. >> okay. let me tell you something. my name is nilson. i put a lawsuit to this facility. >> okay. >> both of the wardens in the federal court on thursday and they declared that they have tested three people and one came positive. >> the people responsible are nowhere to be found. they're all sitting at home somewhere barking orders telling people like me what to say to
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you. it's an fucked up situation. it really is. but the facility is going to continue addressing issues as they arise. what that entails, i have no idea. okay? ♪♪ >> hello. >> hi. it's seth. what's going on with your husband at this point? >> they retall yatded against all the people participating in the hunger strike so now he's in isolation.
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[ speaking foreign language ]
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>> hey. have you heard from nilson. >> he is still in the hole. >> very tough. i'm not sure. i'm so worried because he got a really weak health condition. >> with him refusing medication one of the i.c.e. ladies said they'll get a permit to force feed us. ♪♪ >> hello. >> nilson. >> is calling you from. >> irwin county detention
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center. >> hi, nilson. how are you? >> i'm okay. you know? i haven't eaten for five days today. nothing. we haven't drink any water also. taken any of my medicines. when i get up i get dizzy. i'm feeling weak. this is very unhumanitarian. we didn't behave aggressively any way whatsoever. it is really hard to understand why they're treating us this way. [ speaking foreign language ]
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[ echoing ] some of us were born for this. to protect people. to help them save. with a home and auto bundle from progressive. ahh. i was born for this. and now it's prime time. cut. jamie, what are you doing? you're not even in this one. i thought it was thursday. sorry. -it is. -i thought -- i thought it was last thursday.
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♪♪ can you see me? >> i can. nice hair. let me show you really quick. okay? >> yeah. oh wow. and they're like all over the place, huh? >> basically, they just got them. it says, please practice social distancing and maintain a 6-feet distance from each other. big letters. >> do you know when this inspection's going to happen? >> week and a half, man?
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they have been running this place for years and they haven't cleaned it up properly. it's all kind of stuff. hair, everything. it's not sanitary. >> they're transferring me. >> what? >> yeah. to stewart. >> when? >> they're taking me from here to stewart. tonight. >> you know a dream i have it happens a lot. i'm walking. on sand. i'm walking and it feels like a nice breeze. it feels really nice. but then the sand it just starts, like, creating waves. and then it become like huge mountains. and then i see like if the mountain is going to fall over
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me. then i have to run away from these waves. and it's a bad feeling. wrong. thinking about it makes me think like on unstable ground. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> my son. i talked to him the day before yesterday on the phone. and he for the first time in six years he said something to me that he had never said before. he said, daddy, can we speak in english please? it was our thing. this was a bond that we have together. i feel just like i am losing the bond. you know? i just want to be able to be with him. >> america has been and still is the greatest country in the world. we are the shining city on the hill. now it is up to us to protect
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what the world wants. individual liberty and for our children and our grandchildren. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> we heard about it on the news. spanish tv why somebody who was detained by i.c.e. in the facility of stewart passed away. it was shocking because we all hope that nobody dies. you know what i mean?
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>> we are asking for the 11 petitioners to be released. >> i've already ruled on that. i haven't heard anything terribly persuasive to change my mind on that. ♪♪ >> a whistle-blower, a nurse working in a georgia immigrations and customs enforce. i.c.e. facility leveling ghastly allegations. the facility lacked protection against coronavirus for detained imgrants. >> we didn't have anything to sanitize with. the first case of covid in the fachlt it was covid is not in the facility.
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> women say that a doctor was performing procedures for which no medical indication existed. >> say they'll do a surgery. i said nobody informed me i'm going to do a surgery. i get up. they went to the bell lu but on the and three big old. never explained anything to me and i never agreed. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> that's outside irwin? when did that happen? >> now. >> they're saying abolish i.c.e. >> we are just leaving this irwin county detention center. there was one woman in particular. she described the experience here as torture. >> what's going on? >> not much. >> i see your shirt. >> we just feel like we got to do something, man, to feel proud of it, you know. there's too much going on outside, and we can't ignore it. even though there's nothing we can do, but at least like this, we feel like we are part of it.
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> can't take a picture. put the camera down. [ speaking foreign language ]
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[ speaking foreign language ]
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>> free them all! free them all! >> today i can tell you that i am sure people on the inside are feeling what we're doing over here on the outside. they told me, you need to leave this country because you are a threat to the community. who were they talking about? my wife, a person who was born here, somebody who was suffering because i wasn't next to her? were they talking about my son, a united states citizen? they were protecting my son by
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taking me away from him? were they protecting my sisters? my mom? who were they protecting? that's what i wonder up to today's date.
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♪♪ welcome to a special presentation of the "meet the press" film festival val. i'm chuck todd. what you're about to see is a little piece of this year's broader festival program. these are the best in class short documentaries covering the most consequential issues across the united states. in the last five years, the "meet the press" film festival has showcased more than 100 films from nine countries. dozens of our


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