2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 11 Mar 2005 15:51:03 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Rocketdyne (CA) and the Runkle Ranch
Runkle Canyon is poised to be Simi Valley's newest neighborhood. But did
the city misinterpret the risk of radioactive material in the ground?

Los Angeles City Beat
March 10 (?), 2005

Cattle graze on verdant hills as winter winds whip through the branches
of centuries-old oaks on Runkle Canyon. Shrubby mulefat and willow scrub
sway in the breeze. An old corral lies partially submerged in rainwater
as a foreboding sky promises another deluge in the otherwise dry and
dusty dale. Finally, quacking mallards alight from a vernal pool,
breaking the silence in this picturesque ravine on the southern border
of Simi Valley. 

In 1904, the Runkle family moved into this canyon to grow grain and
walnuts, run a blacksmith shop, and manage a mule train running between
the San Fernando and Simi valleys, all the while raising six kids. The
ranch eventually became popular as a location for film and television
Westerns. By the mid-1980s, a sand and gravel operation finally closed,
leaving the canyon to joggers, hikers, and local troupes of hang

This Southern California version of paradise is exactly what drew Peter
Kiesecker and the euphemistically named GreenPark Runkle Canyon, LLC,
his Seal Beach-based development firm, to Runkle Canyon in the late
1990s. It's a nice chunk of secluded green desert. And it's empty. 

Perfect, he thought, for a new Simi Valley neighborhood. 

Of the original 1,595-acre Runkle Canyon spread, 140 acres are now
slated to become home to 461 residences ? nearly three hundred homes, 25
single-family estates, and 138 apartments for seniors, 62 of which would
be set aside for affordable housing. Wrapped into the middle of the
plan, GreenPark has left open the option of also building a 230-acre,
18-hole golf course. It's the SoCal plan all over: a mix of residential
options, a neighborhood park, and a plethora of outdoor pursuits. A
move-in lifestyle. Runkle Canyon's website crows that the development is
eco-friendly, saying it "provides additional public recreational
opportunities for the residents of Simi Valley." 

But Runkle Ranch has a problem, and it's one that Kiesecker hopes he's
put behind him. This would-be paradise lies only a mile from aerospace
giant Boeing's heavily polluted Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL),
formerly known as Rocketdyne. During a battery of tests performed on
Runkle property in 2003 as part of the required Environmental Impact
Report, the toxic rocket fuel oxidizer perchlorate was found in
groundwater/silt samples at approximately double the levels found in the
groundwater under nearby Ahmanson Ranch, which is farther away from
SSFL. Perchlorate findings were partly responsible for the sale of the
Ahmanson property, which had also been slated for development, to become
state park land. Critics maintain that this contamination must have come
from the Boeing lab. 


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

Military mailing list
  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Tucson Beryllium
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] extra messages
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Rocketdyne (CA) and the Runkle Ranch
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] New Jersey perchlorate

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index