LA County Supports Increase in Lead-Acid Battery Fees to Support Lead Cleanup Efforts

Exposure to lead can pose serious health consequences that include asthma, kidney and brain damage, and it could lead to developmental and behavioral disorders in children. The cleanup of residential parcels and other contaminated sites often range in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The state’s Lead Acid Battery Cleanup Fund is a much-needed funding source that helps underwrite cleanup efforts. To bolster these efforts, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion, authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, that will support AB 142’s intent to increase fees on lead-acid manufacturers so that more funds would be available for cleanup efforts.

“The seriousness of lead contamination should never be minimized, especially when our children’s health is at stake. Lead contamination can have long-term effects on a child’s development and we should all be concerned that our children may suffer lifelong consequences. LA County supports AB 142 because it will require that lead-acid battery manufacturers pay their fair share of cleanup efforts in neighborhoods exposed to lead contamination,” said Supervisor Solis. “I support this bill to increase the amount of state funds available for cleanup efforts in communities tainted by lead contamination. Our vulnerable communities will receive some relief from an ongoing funding source to mitigate lead contamination in their neighborhoods.”

“Lead-acid batteries cause significant air, ground, and water pollution, and put our underserved communities at grave risk. This legislation is very important. It would double current fees on lead-acid battery manufacturers and importers to help cover the costs for clean up in our most vulnerable communities,” said Supervisor Kuehl.

The Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act of 2016 (AB 2153) established a state-mandated $1 fee for consumers purchasing lead-acid batteries and a $1 manufacturer fee for each lead-acid battery sold in the state of California through March 2022. After March 2022, the manufacturer fee will sunset and the consumer fee will increase to $2. The fees established by AB 2153 are deposited in the Lead-Acid Battery Cleanup Fund, and after Legislative appropriation are used to fund the cleanup of areas throughout the state that are suspected of lead contamination.

AB 142 (C. Garcia) would change the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act of 2016 by increasing the fee to lead-acid manufacturers and importers from $1 to $2 and by removing the manufacturer fee sunset date. In addition, the proposed state bill would require that cleanup efforts undertaken pursuant to AB 2153 be fully funded prior to repayment of the $176.6 million General Fund loan to the California Department of Toxic Substances and Control, which were used in the cleanup of communities affected by Exide’s lead emissions.

Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Communications Director, rsantana@bos.lacounty.gov or 213-359-0795.