EXIDE VERNON BREAKING NEWS: Air management district sues Exide for exposing tens of thousands of people to cancer-causing chemicals and failing to take timely action to address problems with pollution control systems
“Exide has had a steady stream of operational problems that have resulted in excess toxic emissions,” said air district executive officer Barry Wallerstein. “These toxic emissions have exposed more than 100,000 residents to an unacceptable cancer risk and for that reason we are seeking to recover a significant penalty from them.” State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), who represents many residents in the area affected by the emissions, praised the move. “Human beings are being exposed to appalling levels of cancer-causing poisons caused by Exide,” he said in a statement. “Cleaning up the company is long overdue.”
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Air quality district sues battery recycler Exide for $40 million
|The Exide plant in Vernon, shown in September 2013. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / September 9, 2013)|
CBS LOS ANGELES
Air Quality Officials Sue Vernon Battery Recycling Plant Over ‘Toxic Emissions’
Exide Technologies (credit: CBS)
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Air quality officials are seeking up to $40 million in penalties from a Vernon company for numerous alleged air quality violations due primarily to illegal emissions of lead and arsenic.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday against Exide Technologies, a lead-acid battery recycling plant in operation since 1922.
SCAQMD executive officer Barry Wallerstein said in a statement the firm has had a “steady stream of operational problems” resulting in toxic emissions that he says have exposed more than 100,000 residents to cancer risk.
“For that reason we are seeking to recover a significant penalty from them,” he stated in part.
The plant currently recycles 23,000 to 41,000 batteries daily.
However, SCAQMD is seeking an order from the independent SCAQMD Hearing Board that would require Exide to stop its smelting operations until it can improve its air pollution control systems to reduce arsenic emissions.
SCAQMD required Exide to strengthen and resubmit a risk reduction plan to reduce its arsenic emissions.
In early 2013, SCAQMD approved a Health Risk Assessment from Exide showing that the facility was causing an unacceptably high cancer risk for 110,000 residents in southeast Los Angeles County primarily due to its arsenic emissions.
SCAQMD then required the facility to develop a risk reduction plan under the agency’s Rule 1402 and the state’s Toxic Hot Spots law.
The agency rejected Exide’s first plan as inadequate and is now evaluating the company’s resubmitted plan.
A spokesperson for Exide was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CBSLA.