Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors approved her motion directing the Board to proclaim the week of October 25-31, 2020 as National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and highlighting Exide’s lead contamination of East and Southeast Los Angeles communities:
“There is no safe level of lead exposure – for anyone.
Unfortunately, there are some industrial polluters that are not taking responsibility for exposing our communities to lead.
For decades, Exide operated its battery-recycling facility in the City of Vernon with an illegal permit, which resulted in toxic air emissions of lead, arsenic and other contaminants polluting the groundwater and the soil, in the surrounding communities of Boyle Heights, Maywood, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Bell, and Huntington Park.
The State of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control has begun the cleanup of some of the impacted properties, but Exide has yet to be held fully accountable. The company has now filed for its second bankruptcy and is proposing that they be allowed to walk away from its responsibility and the mess they made.
Our communities have suffered for far too long, and that is why I wrote to the U.S. Department of Justice in strong opposition of Exide’s proposed settlement agreement.
As requested by community members, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will host a virtual public hearing on Exide’s bankruptcy settlement/Consent Decree proceedings. However, the meeting is scheduled for today and provides minimal notice and outreach to families — typical tactics under the current Trump administration where profits take precedent over people.
I urge residents impacted by Exide’s environmental injustices to provide public testimony during today’s hearing to call out the federal government for having no intention of taking meaningful input from the public and demand that they hold Exide accountable for the environmental crimes they have committed.
Our families deserve nothing less.”
U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Exide Hearing:
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
4:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. (PST)
Participant Toll Free Dial-In: 844-337-7911
Conference ID: 5795412
Contact: Kimberly Ortega, Acting Director of Communications, KOrtega@bos.lacounty.gov