Dec 13, 2006

Boeing Angered by Strict Runoff Rules

Boeing Co. is seeking to ease limits on runoff pollution at its former nuclear research and rocket testing lab in Simi Hills, Calif. This stems from the start of a criminal investigation into whether the company violated clean-water standards at this location.

According to the LA Times, Boeing would like the State Water Resources Control Board to amend a permit that allows the company to discharge industrial wastewater and surface storm water from the laboratory.

The company reported that it had received subpoenas from a federal grand jury that was looking at whether it violated the federal Clean Water Act in the discharge of industrial wastewater and surface storm water from the Simi Hills laboratory.

The water contamination issue has been a problem for years, with neighbors complaining that the lab allowed chemical-tainted water to run into the local watershed and eventually the Pacific Ocean.

Some critics reported that the rocket testing and nuclear research conducted at the laboratory has caused employees and nearby residents to contract cancer and other illnesses from the toxic material in the air and water. However, field lab officials have disputed most of these allegations.

Boeing spokeswoman Blythe Jameson told the LA Times that the company wanted more time to comply with state standards.

State Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) has asked the state water board to deny the request. Assemblywoman Julie Brownley (D-Woodland Hills) also agreed that Boeing should not be granted a revised permit.

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board imposed stricter discharge limits on Boeing in 2004 and then again in January and March 2006.