Fair Political Practices Commission Should Postpone Settlement Agreement with California Strategies and Winston Hickcox for Undisclosed Lobbying Until Boeing is Added, says Consumer Watchdog

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog today asked the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to postpone a proposed settlement agreement between staff attorneys and three well-connected partners in the public affairs company California Strategies until one of the partners, Winston Hickcox, fully discloses his lobbying activities on behalf of Boeing in its efforts to get out of its cleanup obligations at a Southern California nuclear reactor meltdown site.

"Mr. Hickcox, along with other former aides under Governor Jerry Brown in his first administration, have lobbied for Boeing and not disclosed it," said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. "This must come to an end."

Winston Hickcox was an environmental aide to Governor Brown in his first terms as governor and later served as the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Bob Hoffman was Hickcox's Chief of Staff at CAL-EPA and also served as DTSC Chief Counsel in the mid-1990s. Peter Weiner was also an aide on toxics to Governor Brown. They now do work for Boeing trying to get the state to allow Boeing to walk away from cleaning up much of the radioactive and chemical contamination at its Santa Susana Field Laboratory near Los Angeles.

"There can be no question that such people aid the process of industry capture of regulators to the detriment of the public health," said Tucker. "This should be exposed."

Boeing has resisted a thorough cleanup of hazardous and radioactive waste at the SSFL site and took court action to overturn a state law requiring it. Rates for thyroid, bladder cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma are higher among residents living closer to the site than those living further away, according to a federal study. But the DTSC is only lethargically enforcing previously signed agreements with Boeing that the site would be fully cleaned up.

Consumer Watchdog and Strumwasser & Woocher have sued the DTSC and the Department of Public Health for breaking California's signature environmental law by allowing Boeing to dispose of radioactive debris from the site without performing an environmental impact report first and for allowing the debris to be taken to municipal dumps and metal and concrete recyclers that are not licensed to take low-level radioactive waste. http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/consumer-watchdog-filing-suit-block-top-toxics-regulators-disposal-radioactive-waste-inc

California Strategies has a registered lobbying branch, but now the public affairs branch of the firm must also register as a lobbying firm and file all disclosure reports retroactively. The disclosures for 2012 and 2013 were required to be filed yesterday. As of last night, no disclosures were posted on the California Secretary of State's public website.

"We would like the FPPC to withdraw the agreement until it can be amended to include the requirement that Boeing lobbying also be disclosed," Tucker said.

For more on the FPPC and the DTSC, see Consumer Watchdog's report Golden Wasteland and media coverage of DTSC and financial conflicts of interest at: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/focusarea/toxics-watchdog

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog



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