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California ignores toxic waste dumped offshore, spends billions on clean energy

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(The Center Square) – With new reports highlighting tens of thousands of barrels of radioactive waste dumped off the shore of Southern California causing significant marine life and potentially upstream human damage, little is being done by state and federal officials to address the situation. While the EPA has created a task force to examine the situation, not a single report has been completed since it began its investigation in 2021. State Republicans are calling upon Governor Gavin Newsom to take action as the damage from this catastrophic dumping from decades ago continues unabated.

After a 2020 Los Angeles Times article on deep-sea dumping until 1982 of half a million barrels of highly toxic DDT, a popular but now banned pesticide that causes significant reproductive and liver harm, the EPA launched an investigation in 2021 to determine the operational and regulatory history of the dumping. That first report, which, two years later is still incomplete, is supposed to lead to a second report on the nature of contamination and areas of waste drum disposal, a third report on environmental conditions and trends, and then a fourth report — if conditions at the dumping sites are “determined to threaten human health or the environment,” on “conduct[ing] technology screening of potential options for addressing risk.”

Given that the first report is yet to have been completed, it does not appear likely that the EPA’s research on any mitigation for the dumping — the fourth step outlined in their process — will start any time soon.

Now, new reports are showing the dumping is even worse than expected and included the dumping of 56,000 barrels’ equivalent of radioactive waste, suggesting the site’s damage may prove even worse than expected. While the area directly offshore from Palos Verdes, where the DDT manufacturer facility produced its chemicals, has been somewhat mitigated by a federal Superfund targeting the facility’s disposal of toxic waste through sewage pipes into the shallow coast, this larger offshore dumping is getting media attention but no government action.

Amid state efforts to spend billions on clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions — carbon dioxide is determined not to be a carcinogen, unlike DDT or even wildfire ash — state Republicans are wondering why California Governor Gavin Newsom is not focusing more resources or attention on clear, material environmental concerns.

“If Sacramento legislators are really worried about the environment, then this needs to be taken seriously,” said State Sen. Brian Dahle to The Center Square in response to the offshore dumping. “California Democrats love to pick and choose ‘clean energy’ initiatives, instead of addressing root causes. I’ve been advocating for years for better forest management, but they’d rather let our forests burn. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.”