NASA’s Costly Toxic Legacy: Space Agency Faces at Least $1.9 Billion in Environmental Liabilities

Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA faces at least $1.9 billion in environmental clean up and restoration costs at its far-flung network of centers, an amount that has increased $724 million, or 61 percent, since 2014, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

While five of 14 centers where chemical contamination exists have decreased their cleanup liability, other centers such as Kennedy Space Center, Ames Research Center and the White Sands Test Facilities have seen increased costs from 2014 to 2019.

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Environmental Groups Denounce NASA Decision on California Test Site Cleanup

Santa Susana Field Laboratory in 2005.

Trump Administration Announces It Is Breaking Santa Susana Field Laboratory Cleanup Agreement

Press Release
Oct. 2, 2020

Committee to Bridge the Gap
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles
Parents Against Santa Susana Field Lab
Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition 

The Trump Administration today issued its Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the cleanup of contamination on NASA’s portion of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL.) The decision is to violate a legally binding 2010 federal-state agreement that required returning the site to the condition it was in before being polluted. Instead, NASA now plans to walk away from cleaning up the great majority of the contamination, leaving it to continue to migrate offsite. Half a million people live within ten miles of the site.

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