March 21, 2014 District refusal to pay for independent oversight

March 21, 2014


Jeff Ruch, Executive Director

Paual Dinerstein, Senior Counsel

Jennifer de Nicola, President, Malibu Unites

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

2000P Street, NW

Suite 240

Washington, DC 20036


By postal mail and email to;;



Dear Mr. Ruch, Ms. Dinerstein and Ms. De Nicola,


I received your letter dated March 18, 2014, and I thank you for your input.


The Public Participation Plan anticipated by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and the agencies will ensure a transparent process for public review and comment on the investigatory and subsequent activities being undertaken to address the environmental concerns.


SMMUSD declines to finance a separate review by independent experts.  Under California and federal law, the DTSC and EPA retain final authority to oversee and approve investigatory activities by SMMUSD.  SMMUSD has entered into a Voluntary Investigation Agreement with the DTSC which requires that we reimburse the agency for its expert oversight activities.  Because the agencies possess the requisite expertise, and legal authority, to oversee the process – at the expense of the SMMUSD – we cannot justify compensating a third party reviewer.  We are comfortable that the EPA and DTSC will execute their public duties in the best interest of our school district, staff, teachers and students.




Sandra Lyon




cc: Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Region IX Administrator

Patrick Wilson, Region IX, EPA

Steve Armann, Region IX, EPA

Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response,


Deborah Raphael, director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control

Tom Cota, California Department of Toxic Substances Control

Senator Barbara Boxer

Congressman Henry Waxman

State Senator Fran Pavley

State Assemblyman Richard Bloom

LA County Supervisor (3rd District) Zev Yaroslavsky

Carol Serlin, Principal, Environ