Celebrity Kim Kardashian West is calling on President Donald Trump and other government leaders to lead a clean-up of the contaminated Santa Susana Field Lab in the hills above San Fernando and Simi valleys, sparking enthusiasm among residents who have long demanded the action.
Kardashian, who lives in nearby Hidden Hills, demanded via Twitter Wednesday that Trump, Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry help push for the clean up the former nuclear and rocket engine testing site near many Valley schools and homes.
“(The California Department of Toxic and Substance Control, or DTSC, the federal Department of Energy and NASA) promised to clean up contaminated Santa Susana Field Lab by 2017, but the job hasn’t even begun!” Kardashian West shared with nearly 60 million followers. “Time to reform DTSC, and for (the federal agency) to keep its promises.”
The @CaliforniaDTSC @Energy @NASA promised to cleanup contaminated Santa Susana Field Lab by 2017, but the job hasn’t even begun! Time to #ReformDTSC & for Feds to #KeepSSFLPromises @GavinNewsom @JaredBlumfeld @secretaryperry @realdonaldtrump this one we can all agree on!
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) February 27, 2019
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The tweet has rekindled enthusiasm among residents and community leaders who have been advocating for the cleanup for decades.
“For such a long time nobody paid attention to what’s happening here,” said West Hills resident Christina Walsh, who has been demanding the cleanup for about 20 years. “Kim Kardashian has a huge voice and that helps to inform the public.”
Kardashian also retweeted a petition launched by West Hills resident Melissa Bumstead, whose daughter Grace has twice survived leukemia. The petition has gained a total of 590,000 signatures. Bumstead said her daughter is one of 50 children with cancer who live near the toxic site.
The field which left what many say was a tragic imprint in the area after it began operating in the 1940s and launched among the nation’s most important advances in rocket and space travel. The area also housed 10 experimental reactors. One of them experienced a partial nuclear meltdown in 1959, leaving the area polluted with radioactive and chemical contamination.
In 2010, the United States Department of Energy and NASA signed an agreement, promising to remove all contamination from the site by 2017. The state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control, or DTSC, asked Boeing, which owns a portion of the area, to commit to its own cleanup.
About two years after the deadline, the cleanup has not yet started.
After the Woolsey Fire broke out in November near the Santa Susana Field Lab, state officials assured residents that no high-level toxins or radiation were present at the site. Back then, Kardashian weighed in for the first time, tweeting that she was “shocked and furious” to learn that the fire, which threatened her home, started at the former nuclear testing site and is “potentially radioactive.”
The following month, NASA announced that it was ready to begin cleanup of contaminated groundwater from the shuttered Cold War-era rocket engine and nuclear research facility.
In recent weeks, skeptical residents have rolled out their own study that will look into potential contamination from the site during the fire.
More to come.