Runkle Canyon is NOT Toxic! Let’s Move On!

We need to rely on good, sound science
– Steve Sojka

This past Monday, I missed the City Council meeting where the status of Runkle Canyon was discussed. I caught the playback and was fascinated by what I saw!

I can’t help but wonder if the Radiation Rangers are hysterical, or if they’re just trying to be overly sensational to prevent a developer from building homes in their backyards. The presentation started with Radiation Ranger Patty Coryell, considered the founder of the Radiation Rangers. She introduced Michael Collins, a reporter who hardly comes off as objective. He spoke of mysterious white substances, unknown tar like substances, and “suspicious looking water.” Interesting stuff. But none of it proves contamination. He voiced concerns about possible contamination of drinking water. He had slides with pretty maps. It was compelling. Also, he makes a living writing about evil developers who build on tainted land. The presentation concluded with a resident who’s face I couldn’t see. His job was apparently to add no value to the presentation aside from saying “let this soak into your brains” which Glen Becerra had the opportunity to say back later in the meeting. Like I said… compelling.

Mr Riley, on the other hand, joined the council meeting directly after with a presentation from the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC). He discussed openly that he and his department had been in contact with KB Homes and that KB Homes had responded favorably and with cooperation as did Runkle Canyon, LLC. He indicated that they opened their test results to scrutiny. He also discovered that the mysterious white substance was located not only on the property in question, but that it was also located in other areas throughout Simi. Analysis concluded that it was a naturally occurring mineral salt, completely unrelated to the Santa Susana Field Lab. The black tar substance is apparently a result of a gravel mining effort and, while ugly, is not contamination. After several questions from the council, Mr. Riley finally answered the one that I was waiting for all night which was that he had no plans at this point to indicate that the land was unsafe on which to build.

And yet, if you check the hysterical website of the Radiation Rangers, they have a big red banner above a photo of harmless white mineral salt that reads…

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, it turns out nothing is wrong. And regarding any ideas of a supplemental EIR (Environmental Impact Report) the city manager concludes that there is no purpose to do a supplemental EIR just for the sake of doing an EIR. It’ll happen when the time is right.

I’m annoyed by the hysteria the Radiation Rangers have spun. People eat that stuff up.  Some poor bastard embarrassingly approached the podium at the council meeting to sternly lecture the council and inform them that if he “finds out that he’s drinking contaminated water and the council did nothing about it, he’s going to hold them all personally responsible.”  How obnoxious and uninformed.  I blame that individual for being uninformed, but I point the blame at the Radiation Rangers as well.

As far as what I learned from Monday night’s council meeting, I feel pleased and informed. Easily one of the best council meetings ever. Plus, it’s good to see science and facts beat out hysteria and sensationalism.

On a much sadder note, the content of salt on the property is such that snails and slugs are required to relocate. Rumor has it, a new group called the Snail Rangers has formed to investigate the mysterious bubbling effect that takes place on snails and slugs when they come into contact with the mysterious white substance. More on this soon…