SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Gerry Brown has proposed a $176.6 million spending plan to fund expedited and expanded testing and cleanup of residential properties, schools, daycare centers and parks around the former Exide Technologies facility in Vernon, California.
In statement, the Governor said, “This Exide battery recycling facility has been a problem for a very long time,” said Governor Brown. “With this funding plan, we’re opening a new chapter that will help protect the community and hold Exide responsible.”
The Administration’s plan was detailed today in a Department of Finance letter sent to the California State Senate and Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee chairs.
The $176.6m plan will ensure all residential properties, schools, daycare centers and parks within the 1.7 mile radius of the Exide Technologies facility are tested and contaminated soil removed where lead levels are the highest and potential exposure the greatest.
This plan expedites and expands efforts already underway and includes an exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act.
The $176.6 million appropriation from the Toxic Substances Control Account will be supported by a loan from the General Fund. This loan will enable the Department to address the significant public health concerns in the communities surrounding the Exide Technologies facility in an expedited manner. However, cleanup costs initially incurred by the State will ultimately be sought from the parties responsible for the lead contamination.
In addition, the Governor is directing the Department to evaluate lead-acid batteries through a Hazardous Waste Reduction Initiative. The analysis could result in identifying lead batteries as a “Priority Product” under the Safer Consumer Products program, which will require manufacturers to evaluate the product’s health impacts and consider ways to reduce impacts.