CA, California, Clean up of Vernon lead smelter site, Clean-up of Exide lead smelter site

EXIDE VERNON: EGPNEWS Editorial: Another call for leadership and justice in Exide cause


Another Call for Leadership and Justice In Exide Cause

By EGP Editorial

We’re disappointed but not surprised that some of our readers do not agree with our editorial last week in this newspaper criticizing the different standards exhibited by government officials regarding the Porter Ranch gas leak and the Exide contamination.

EGP never said or implied that the Porter Ranch contamination is not a serious issue deserving of the aggressive intervention and attention it is now receiving.

Rather, our criticism is of the governmental regulatory agencies and their bosses –namely the governor and elected officials from the city of Los Angeles right up to the State Senate and Assembly—who for years have failed to provide adequate funding and oversight to deal with the fallout of Exide’s decades-long spewing of toxic levels of lead and arsenic into the air and water in east and southeast Los Angeles area cities and neighborhoods.

On Jan. 28, the Independent Review Panel created to look into the California Department of Toxic Substance Control released it’s first report on its findings and it highlighted numerous concerns with how the agency handles the permitting of hazardous waste facilities.

Chief among the panel’s concerns is the backlog of expired permits for facilities still in business; the agency’s projected shortfall in funding to remediate contaminated sites where the polluter is no longer available to pay for the clean up, and the agency losing this June 14 staff members whose job it is to recoup decontamination costs — something the agency already has a poor record of achieving.

We understand the Porter Ranch residents fear for their families’ health these past four months. It’s the same fear families in Flint Michigan have about the lead in their water, which prompted their governor to under pressure issue a state of emergency.

It’s the same fear many have about the lead from Exide in their homes – where after years of violations, hearings, and untold hours of public testimony, there still has not been a state of emergency issued.

Exide area residents have endured exposure to lead, arsenic and other toxic chemicals, which  health experts and scientists have testified pose a myriad of health problems, including a higher risk of cancer.

We believe no one, no matter where they live, should be exposed to environmental contamination and that there should not be a double standard when it comes to how our government responds to environmental injustices.

EGP will continue to shine a light on the double standard taking place in East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Commerce, Maywood, Vernon and Huntington Park: It’s the right thing to do.

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