AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Department of Energy project manager Mike Lopez said he couldn’t comment because of the ongoing lawsuit. In the past, DOE officials have said they are following all state and federal safety laws and have rejected charges that the site will be dangerous. Also, the agency was concerned that the lawsuit would slow down the lab cleanup. Lockyer joins the Natural Resources Defense Council, the city of Los Angeles and longtime lab watchdog group Committee to Bridge the Gap, which sued the DOE in 2004 over the lab decontamination. “The California Attorney General’s Office understands this is an issue of statewide importance,” said James Birkelund, senior project attorney at the NRDC. “If the Bush administration can ignore the law here then they can get away with it at other sites across the country.” The 2,800-acre field lab sits in the Simi Hills in Ventura County, near the Los Angeles city line. From the 1940s through 1988, the federal government conducted nuclear energy testing on a 90-acre section of the lab called the Energy Technology Engineering Center. Concerned that too much radioactive and toxic contamination could be left in the Simi Hills, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer has filed a legal brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Lab’s former nuclear research area. Lockyer’s involvement pressures the U.S. Department of Energy to re-evaluate its plan to decontaminate the site. Critics charge that the DOE has broken promises to thoroughly clean the site and say the federal agency’s plan would leave 99 percent of the tainted soil on hilltop property. Lockyer spokeswoman Teresa Schilling said the attorney general decided to get involved and push for a more thorough environmental study because the DOE plans to release the site for unrestricted use, which could include building houses on the land. “If ever there was a case to push for a full environmental analysis, this is one,” Schilling said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know you have to do a full environmental analysis on a site that has had nuclear activity before you turn it over to another use.” ETEC was home to 10 nuclear reactors, one of which experienced a partial meltdown in 1959. Nuclear research ended and the Energy Department began its self-regulated decontamination in 1988. Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!