The state Assembly Thursday approved $176.6 million in funding for environmental testing and cleanup work in neighborhoods surrounding the now-shuttered Exide Technologies battery-recycling plant in Vernon.
The Assembly’s approval moves the legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown, who proposed the funding.
State officials said the funding would pay for testing of residential properties, schools, day care centers and parks within a 1.7-mile radius of the plant, and fund cleaning of as many as 2,500 properties with the highest lead levels.
“The loan funds in the legislation will speed up the testing and cleanup process for thousands of homes affected by Exide and makes sure the state will go after Exide to get back the money that is spent cleaning up their mess,” Assembly Speaker Ed Rendon, D-Paramount, said. “… While the toxic damage has already taken a toll on our communities, the action we are taking today will go a long way toward restoring the safety and quality of life for the residents harmed by the poisons that Exide dumped on them.”
The Exide plant permanently closed in March 2015. When Exide agreed to close the lead-acid battery recycling plant, it committed to pay $50 million for cleanup of the site and surrounding neighborhoods. Of that amount, $26 million is meant to be set aside for residential cleanup.
As of last August, Exide, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013, had paid $9 million into a trust and another $5 million was due to be paid by March 2020, according to state officials.
—City News Service
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