Open Letter to U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA 26th Cong.Dist.)

Dan LarsonBy Dan Larson      June 25, 2021

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Open Letter to U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA 26th Cong.Dist.)
PHOTO COURTESY OF SANTA SUSANA FIELD LABORATORY Coca Test Stand III at Santa Susana Field Laboratory located just a ridge away from the Chumash Burro Flats Painted Cave site. According to saveopenspace.com, the Chumash Indians are “very much in favor of saving the Coca stands, the ones in closest proximity to the Burro Flats Painted Cave site…, the only place in the world where celestial paintings done by ancient man are located in the exact same spot where 20th century man actually took the steps to reach the stars. The Burro Flats Cave and the Coca stands could be considered key features of a future National Monument/NASA Landmark celebrating that fact.”
A local archaeologist pleads to save the remaining test stands at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory! My name is Dan Larson, and although I am not one of your constituents, I, like you, am an ardent advocate of preserving all the remaining rocket engine test stands in NASA Area II, not only for their own significance but for their being one-half of the co-location which is the only one of its kind on earth, celebrating humankind’s fascination with the sky and space. In addition to working with Dr. Edwin Krupp to preserve the remaining test stands, I was part of the team that informed Dr. Krupp of the potential winter and summer solstice astronomical alignments after our first visit to Santa Susana Field Laboratory and the Burro Flats Painted Cave site complex in June of 1978. Unfortunately, NASA has begun the process of demolition of the Bravo test stands, to be followed by the demolition of the Coca test stands in a year that will require immediate action. I write this open letter in The Canyon Chronicle to urgently appeal to you to write an emergency letter to NASA, as well as the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), reaffirming your support for preserving all the remaining rocket engine test stands and control houses in NASA-administered Area II at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL). I believe you are the ideal person to write this letter since you co-sponsored SB 990 in 2007, the most stringent cleanup proposed for the SSFL, but changed your mind in terms of preserving all the remaining test stands in March of 2017. In the Record of Decision (ROD) for their Programmatic Agreement (PA), NASA re-confirmed their plans to demolish the Bravo and Coca Test Stand Areas in compliance with the 2014 PA. The first phase of the demolition process is to find and then hire a firm to complete the demolition activities. The second phase is the active demolition of the Bravo Test Stand Area (two test stands and one control house) that will commence sometime this summer. Demolition of the Coca test stands is slated to begin in 2022. In my opinion, losing even one Bravo test stand would be a totally unnecessary tragedy which I believe requires such an emergency action. In the March 21, 2017 letter which you co-signed, after listing the major contributions made possible with the test stands, the co-location between the ancient Burro Flats Painted Cave site complex and the remaining rocket engine test stands is described. The description ends with a powerful quote from Dr. Edwin Krupp, stating that the co-location is the only one of its kind on the planet, and the only natural monument to humankind’s fascination with the space and sky by two different cultures, at two different times, on two different locations, on the same landform, expressing their fascination with the space and sky. This landform with its attendant cultural resources is arguably the most significant cultural resource complex on the entire SSFL, and is irreplaceable. Finally, I will appeal to you to contact Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA 33rd Cong. Dist.), Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th Cong. Dist.), Brad Sherman (D-CA 30th Cong. Dist.), and Tony Cardenas (D-CA 29th Cong. Dist.), to have them co-sign your letter. Sincerely, Dan Larson, Archaeologist (Retired) dlcompass033@gmail.com (310) 455-1606
Dan Larson

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