The company that operated a lead-acid battery recycling plant just east of Los Angeles for decades has proposed a bankruptcy plan that’s drawing fierce criticism and adds uncertainty to clean up plans after pollution has plagued surrounding neighborhoods. A court considered the proposal during a Thursday hearing.
Exide Technologies, which operated the Vernon smelter site up until 2015, presented the plan to California leaders asking the state to release the company from all liability in exchange for $2.5 million. According to the Los Angeles Times, the state refused to agree, but the company moved forward. That means taxpayers could face the financial burden, which already sits at $270 million. State officials have said an estimated $70-$100 million is still needed for full remediation.
Exide has tried to pass off blame for lead contamination although in the past it has admitted to wrongdoing and promised to demolish and clean up the plant. That hasn’t happened. Eastside community members have long voiced their concerns and frustration and continue to do so by demanding Exide be held responsible.
Today on AirTalk, we talk to a reporter who’s been covering the latest developments. We also want to hear from listeners. Do you live in a neighborhood that’s been impacted? What has been your experience? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.
We reached out to Exide Technologies, but didn’t hear back before the broadcast.
Idalmis Vaquero, Boyle Heights resident and a member of Communities for a Better Environment and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, two environmental justice organizations that have been advocating for clean up efforts for the last decade; she tweets @idalmisvaquero