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Whistleblowers who worked at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Superfund site join together to warn the public about radioactive coverup

June 29, 2017

Greenaction files petition to Nuclear Regulatory Commission calling for revocation of Tetra Tech’s License due to falsification of hundreds of soil samples at Superfund site near San Francisco Bay and homes

San Francisco – At a press conference Thursday, June 29, at noon in front of the Hunters Point Shipyard Superfund site in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco, many former employees of Tetra Tech and their subcontractors joined together for the first time in the most damning expose to date of the scandal-plagued radioactive contamination “cleanup.” The U.S. Navy contracted with Tetra Tech EC, Inc., to assist in the radiological cleanup of the Shipyard, a National Priorities List Superfund site.

In the 1950s, when the U.S. was continually testing nuclear bombs in the South Pacific, deliberately exposing “mothballed” ships to radiation so as to practice various ways of removing it, they towed the old ships to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, where the Navy eventually settled on sandblasting it. Tons of irradiated sandblast accumulated – neighborhood children called it Black Beauty sand because it shone like diamonds in the sun – and the Navy used it to pave side roads and foot paths. It’s that part of the Shipyard where high end condos have been built and occupied. No radiation? Don’t count on it. – Photo: TimePix

In response to the failure of federal and state agencies to take meaningful action to address the radioactive and toxic contamination threat or to penalize Tetra Tech for falsifying hundreds of radioactive soil samples and other improper actions related to the Superfund contamination cleanup project, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice announced it has filed a petition to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission demanding that Tetra Tech’s national license be revoked.

USEPA, US Navy and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control allowed Tetra Tech to keep working at the site and repeatedly claimed that the site was safe, until public pressure forced EPA and DTSC to write to the Navy on Sept. 13, 2016, to confirm their agreement to put a hold on any further transfers of parcels of Shipyard land to the City for the Lennar/Five Points upscale and luxury development.

Tetra Tech’s role was marked by intentional fraud, greed and disregard for the health and safety of present and future San Francisco residents as well as the greater Northern California community. Although Tetra Tech has admitted it engaged in a limited amount of soil-sampling fraud, it has not acknowledged the breadth and scope of its wrongdoing. Evidence shows that the wrongdoing was pervasive and directed by onsite management.

Many former employees of Tetra Tech and their subcontractors joined together for the first time in the most damning expose to date of the scandal-plagued radioactive contamination “cleanup.”

Tetra Tech employees and the radiological subcontractors it directly supervised were involved in at least six types of fraud:

1) fake sampling, in which soil samples – potentially thousands of them – were reported to have been taken at one location when they were actually taken from another;

2) discarding samples and analytical results when they came back radiologically too “hot”;

3) altering scanning data to make them appear radiologically acceptable;

4) conducting false building surveys in which certain scan results were fabricated, others falsified;

5) remediating radioactive material in soil improperly, resulting in potentially radioactively-contaminated soil being shipped offsite as well as being used as backfill for trenches at the Shipyard; and

6) altering Portal Monitor procedures so potentially radioactively-contaminated soil was allowed to be shipped offsite for commercial purposes to places unknown.

Tetra Tech’s role was marked by intentional fraud, greed and disregard for the health and safety of present and future San Francisco residents as well as the greater Northern California community.

Greenaction also released documents proving that Lennar/Five Points, not the USEPA, is playing a leading role in creating the agenda for closed-door “Tiger Team” meetings that were supposed to bring together technical experts from the federal, state, regional and local government regulatory agencies to develop plans for addressing the falsification of soil samples through additional sampling and cleanup.

Greenaction and community residents spoke out to demand that science, safety and protection of health and the environment – not corporate profit – be the sole determinants for how to ensure the Shipyard Superfund site is made as safe as possible. Greenaction and residents are calling for independent community oversight and comprehensive retesting of the entire Shipyard site and adjacent areas, including parcels that the Navy and EPA previously declared “clean” and have already been transferred to the City and Lennar/Five Points.

Greenaction and community residents spoke out to demand that science, safety and protection of health and the environment – not corporate profit – be the sole determinants for how to ensure the Shipyard Superfund site is made as safe as possible.

“It is a disgrace that our city, state and federal agencies ignored the falsification of radioactive soil samples for years, and instead protected a guilty federal contractor who was supposed to clean the radioactive contamination and a rich developer who wants to build thousands of luxury homes at the Superfund site,” said Bradley Angel, executive director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.

“As a lifelong resident of Bayview Hunters Point, I am outraged at this radioactive scandal,” said Leaotis Martin, a member of the Bayview Hunters Point Mothers and Fathers Committee. “We demand that the Superfund site be fully cleaned up and that our health and environment be protected. We demand justice.”

Petition to revoke Tetra Tech’s license filed June 29 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice today filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission calling on them to revoke the license of Tetra Tech, a major federal contractor who performed decades of work at the Hunters Point Shipyard Superfund site.

The United States Navy contracted with Tetra Tech EC, Inc., to assist in the radiological cleanup of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, a National Priorities List Superfund site. Tetra Tech’s role was marked by intentional fraud, greed and disregard for the health and safety of present and future San Francisco residents as well as the greater Northern California community.

Although Tetra Tech has admitted it engaged in a limited amount of soil-sampling fraud, it has not acknowledged the breadth and scope of its wrongdoing. Evidence shows that the wrongdoing was pervasive and directed by onsite management.

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice today filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission calling on them to revoke the license of Tetra Tech, a major federal contractor who performed decades of work at the Hunters Point Shipyard Superfund site.

Fraudulent sampling, scanning and surveys led to fraudulent remediation; sites that required additional cleanup were not remediated and remain contaminated because fake samples indicated areas were “clean” when they were not.

Tetra Tech’s top onsite management, its project manager and construction superintendent participated in and directed the fraud. Tetra Tech’s willful fraud demonstrates it is unworthy of an NRC license. Greenaction demands that it be revoked as an appropriate sanction for its fraud and to deter others from engaging in similar fraudulent conduct.

To learn more, contact Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice director Bradley Angel at bradley@greenaction.org.

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