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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Chatsworth

Feinstein Urges Study of Rocketdyne Lab Risk

October 28, 1998|KATE FOLMAR

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday added her voice to the chorus of lawmakers urging a cancer risk study in the neighborhoods surrounding Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

In letters sent to the heads of two federal regulatory agencies, Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that neighbors deserve to know whether decades of nuclear and rocket-engine testing at the 2,668-acre field lab in the hills between Simi Valley and Chatsworth could endanger their health. Her letters echoed the concerns of state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) and Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica).

"I am very concerned to learn of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy's recalcitrance to fully investigate possible cancer risks near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory," Feinstein said in the letters.

The senator referred to a decision by state and federal officials to restrict the use of $125,000 that remains from $1.6 million set aside for two UCLA studies of worker health.

The first of those studies, released last year, found that some Rocketdyne workers had higher-than-expected cancer death rates; a second study is due in January.

Dr. Robert Harrison of the state Department of Health Services told The Times last month that the remaining money--funneled from the Department of Energy through his agency--could only be used for the wrap-up of the UCLA studies, as opposed to any new research. That would preclude spending the money on the community health study, which many residents and lawmakers have requested for years.

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