State toxics regulators announced Tuesday the troubled lead battery recycler, Exide Technologies, will lose permission to handle hazardous waste in Vernon unless it fixes problems in its application to do so.
For decades, Exide has had only temporary authorization to smelt and recycle lead from batteries. In recent years the company applied to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control for a real permit. Acting DTSC director Miram Barcellona Ingenito says regulators have told the company its application is incomplete for the third time.
"Exide Technologies has had three chances to submit a complete permit application that demonstrates the company can safety operate and close the facility, and each time Exide has fallen short," Ingenito said.
DTSC says a key problem is the company has not told the state how it would clean up lead contamination or how much that cleanup would cost if it were to close. Exide has guaranteed just under $11 million for closure and cleanup expenses if it stops operating. Company’s critics say that’s nowhere near enough to do the job.
DTSC’s Rizgar Ghazi said Exide has 30 days to correct these and other problems.
"The onus is on them to make that happen," Ghazi said. "They have a lot of resources, they could spend resources to make that happen if they really wanted to."
Exide has filed for financial reorganization under federal bankruptcy code.
In a written statement, Exide vice president Thomas Strang said the company plans to work with DTSC to complete the application on time.