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Trucking of Rocket Fuel Via L. A. Halted

October 18, 1987|SAM ENRIQUEZ and ALAN C. MILLER | Times Staff Writers

After protests from elected officials, the Department of Defense has agreed to halt shipments of highly toxic rocket fuel through the city of Los Angeles.

Mayor Tom Bradley told a news conference that federal officials have agreed to reroute rocket-fuel shipments from congested metropolitan freeways to less-populated desert areas north of Los Angeles County.

City officials learned last month that, for several years, rocket fuel bound for Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc has been shipped by truck on the Ventura Freeway through the densely populated San Fernando Valley.

The Department of Defense agreed to halt shipments through the city of four fuel components, including nitrogen tetroxide, which can be fatal if inhaled. The agreement, developed with federal officials and representatives of the mayor's office, the California Highway Patrol and city police and fire departments, will "ensure protection for the lives and safety of Los Angeles residents," Bradley said Tuesday.

In a letter to Bradley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense John A. Mittino said the Department of Defense agreed that "shipments consigned to destinations not within the City of Los Angeles will be routed to avoid transiting through Los Angeles."

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