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Mayor says Bermite cleanup will happen

Federal bailout likely saved effort, Kellar tells those at luncheon

Posted: September 17, 2008 9:32 p.m.
Updated: November 19, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar speaks at the annual State of the City Luncheon on Wednesday afternoon at the Hyatt Valencia.

 

Cleanup at the Whittaker-Bermite site is proceeding as planned, Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar told a luncheon group Wednesday.

Kellar assured those attending the annual State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Valencia they had no reason to fear the cleanup might be stalled.

The Signal reported Wednesday that ongoing cleanup of the 996 acres might cease if American International Specialty Lines Insurance Company — one of two insurance companies funding the project and a wholly-owned subsidiary of American International Group — ended up in the hands of a trustee should AIG go bankrupt.

The federal government agreed late Tuesday to provide an unprecedented $85-billion emergency loan to rescue the international insurance giant.

“It is certainly encouraging news that AIG is going to be maintained and operational,” Kellar said after the luncheon. “If it were allowed to crumble it might have impacted our ability to move forward.”

Kellar sees great potential for the parcel at the heart of Santa Clarita Valley.

“We’re pretty excited about the opportunities,” he said. “Work has been slow but steady and we’re anxious to get it done.

“Once it’s done, it opens up a wide range of opportunities associated with land located in the middle of the city.”

Steadfast Insurance Company and AISLIC put up $300 million for the cleanup.

Steadfast made funds available up to a limit of $75 million.

AISLIC also posted funds totalling $75 million available until the end of this year. 

It put up an additional $150 million for the cleanup, available until the year 2019.

Worries that the funds would end up as AISLIC assets in the hands of a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee were allayed Tuesday when the federal government announced the single largest bailout in the history of the country.

Since the late 1930s, a number of companies have manufactured and tested munitions, explosives and fireworks on the Whittaker-Bermite site, now contaminated with perchlorate.

The solid rocket fuel byproduct is linked to human thyroid problems.

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