Pro Tem De León Spurs Budget Gains for Improvements in State Oversight of Hazardous Waste Facilities
SACRAMENTO – A state department whose responsibilities include monitoring hazardous waste facilities will itself be monitored by independent experts, according to provisions sought by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León in the recently approved budget.
The 2015-16 budget signed by Governor Brown last week established a 3-person panel to monitor the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), in addition to a $13 million budget increase to boost its permitting process and hazardous waste oversight operations.
“The establishment of an oversight board to scrutinize DTSC is a critical first step in making sure industries that handle hazardous and toxic materials do so by the books,” De León said. “Failure to do so puts the public at serious risk.”
RELEASE: Senate Approves Pro Tem’s Bill to Prevent Another Exide Disaster SB 654 Tightens Lax DTSC Oversight of Hazardous Waste Facilities
Thursday, June 04, 2015
SACRAMENTO – The Senate today approved a bill by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León to increase state oversight of hazardous waste facilities like the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon that operated unpermitted for decades.
“It’s bad enough that facilities handling toxins and hazardous waste are often located in or near underserved communities,” said Senator de León, “But it is absolutely unacceptable when they’re allowed to operate without oversight. We can never allow another Exide.”
Make Sure Your Voice is Heard On Exide
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 12, 2015
Legislators React to Exide Vernon Plant Shut Down Announcement
SACRAMENTO – Legislators React to Exide Vernon Plant shut down announcement:
Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles): “Permanently shutting down Exide’s Vernon facility is the best and long-overdue outcome for communities harmed by its dangerous pollution for decades. For too long, kids and the elderly were left vulnerable to hazardous waste leaking from the plant while the state agency responsible for protecting them failed to do its job. These neighborhoods in Boyle Heights and East L.A. have often been ignored by the state and my staff worked with residents for several years to demand they get the attention they deserve. Exide’s repeated violations as a serial polluter prove the Vernon facility can never be trusted to operate safely. Now we need to make sure Exide fully implements their closure cleanup and the plant’s employees are provided the support they need to find future employment.”
Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens): “The news that Exide is finally to be closed will bring great relief to my constituents, who for decades have been exposed to toxic levels of lead and arsenic emissions from their Vernon facility. But the legacy impacts of this facility will not go away overnight. To truly understand the magnitude of this issue, we need a comprehensive review of soil contamination and better data on the health impacts to people who continue to be exposed to unhealthy levels of lead and arsenic. We need to ensure that this deal adequately holds Exide morally and financially accountable for the damage they have caused. Impacted families deserve no less.”
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles): "Given Exide's long history of environmental violations and disregard for the health and safety of our community and its own employees, shutting down is the best decision. Hundreds of people throughout my district have fought long and hard for today. I am proud of our collective effort. But make no mistake -- this work is not yet done. I fully expect Exide to continue remediating its contamination in the months ahead and I pledge to maintain solid pressure on all parties to resolve this appalling situation."
Joint Hearing – Senate Budget and Fiscal Review - Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation (Wolk) and Senate Environmental Quality Committee (Wieckowski)
Thursday, March 12, 2015 – 9:30 a.m. or upon adjournment of session in Room 112
Oversight hearing on the Department of Toxic Substances Control including implementing the department’s strategic plan and reorganization, permit backlogs and business operations, audit recommendations, and enforcement actions. The Subcommittee will also conduct oversight on the issue of the Beverage Container Recycling Fund structural deficit, following up on extensive hearing discussions in the 2014-15 budget.
EXIDE TECHNOLOGIES - Timeline of Actions
PHOTO: Senator Kevin de León, Rev. Msgr. John Moretta, and L.A. City Councilmemer Jose Huizar and Boyle Heights/South East L.A. Residents
Repeated failures by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) have shown that our current system for handling hazardous waste is broken.
Exide Technologies has operated a lead battery recycling facility without a permit in Vernon for over 30 years and repeatedly violated environmental and safety standards emitting lead, arsenic and other contaminants into communities. Read more.
November 12, 2014 – Statement: New permanent director to oversee the Department of Toxic Substances Control
September 18, 2014 – Press Release: Community Calls on Governor to Clean Up Exide & Reform State’s Toxics Agency-Urge Signature on SB 712 (Lara) and SB 812 (De León)
September 17, 2014 – Media Advisory: Community Rally Urging Governor Brown to Clean Up Exide & DTSC
August 29, 2014 – Press Release: Legislature Passes Bill to Reform Beleaguered State Toxics Agency
July 23, 2014 – Los Angeles Times Editorial - Needed: a Department of Toxic Substances Control Worthy of its name
February 10, 2014 – Press Release: Senator De León Statement on Exide Lawsuit
January 28, 2014 – Press Release: Senate Approves Measure to Shut Down Polluters - Deadlines Set for Hazardous Waste Facilities
January 16, 2014 – Press Release: Senator De León Praises SCAQMD Enforcement Action Seeking $40 Million in Penalties
January 15, 2014 – Press Release: Senator De Leόn Accuses DTSC of “repeated failures to protect our most vulnerable communities” - Demands Polluting Hazardous Waste Plants Be Shut Down
January 14, 2014 – Media Advisory: Senate To Hold Oversight Hearing Wednesday - Repeated Violations of High Levels of Pollution Reported from Facilities with Expired Permits
January 10, 2014 – Senator Kevin de León calls on South Coast Air Quality Management District Board to vote to amend a rule to would require owners or operators of large lead-acid battery recycling facilities to reduce arsenic emissions and other key toxic air contaminant emissions. Letter
December 17, 2013 – Senator Kevin de León requests the Senate Environmental Quality Committee to hold an Oversight Hearing on Hazardous Waste/DTSC/Exide Technologies Letter
Save the Date – Public Meeting – Saturday, December 14, 2013, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Golden Eagle Building, 3rd fl., Cal State Los Angeles, 5151 State University Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90032 Notice Flyer
Save the Date – Public Meeting – Monday, December 2, 2013, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Double Tree Hotel, 5757 Telegraph Road, Commerce, CA 90040 Notice Letter
October 18, 2013 – Senator Kevin de León calls on South Coast Air Quality Management District board to take swift and immediate action to close Vernon Exide plant Press Release
October 16, 2013 – Legislators call on bankruptcy court to provide protections for residents who may have injury claims against Exide Technologies PRESS RELEASE
September 21, 2013 – Senator De León Announces Town Hall on October 8 in Boyle Heights
September 19, 2013 – Senator De León Issues Letters to SCAQMD, DTSC, and US EPA
In light of recent news, including violation of lead levels, court reconsideration of temporary suspension and Exide’s request to pay over $16 million in employee bonuses, Senator De León requests regulators participate in upcoming town hall to share details of regulatory actions directly with affected residents.
September 19, 2013 – Senator De León Sends Letter to Exide Technologies CEO
Letter urges CEO of Exide to be aggressive about the cleanup, including commitment on adequate financial assurance in light of recent news that the bankruptcy court approved Exide’s request for over $16 million in employee bonuses.
September 18, 2013 – Bankruptcy Court Allows Exide $16 Million Plus for Employee Bonuses
The Bankruptcy Court approves Exide’s request for over $16 million in employee bonuses.
September 17, 2013 – Exide Issued a Notice of Violation for Harmful Lead Levels
South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) found Exide exceeded lead levels at one of the facility’s air monitors. This violation requires Exide to reduce production by 15% until the facility demonstrates it has achieved a lead concentration level standard.
Specifically, on Monday, September 9, a monitor at the Exide facility exceeded the lead concentration levels of 0.15 ug/m3 over a 30-day period, as established by SCAQMD rule 1420.1. These levels did not cause a violation of federal lead standards which are not as stringent as SCAQMD rule.
September 16, 2013 – Court Reconsiders July 2 Order Lifting Temporary Suspension
Court orders Exide to submit documents by October 7, 2013 to show why the temporary suspension shouldn’t be lifted.
Court schedules hearing on October 15 unless the following happens, either the Administrative Law Judge has taken up the hearing; or, the administrative hearing has been completed by September 30.
September 12, 2013 - LA Times Story – Exide will Pay for Blood Samples To Begin Later this Month
As required, in the workplan order between Exide and the State (via DTSC), Exide will pay for blood sampling of nearby residents to check for unharmful lead levels. The blood sampling will be conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, via the Environmental Health Department, toxics Epidemiology program.
August 29, 2013 – State and Exide Request Postponement of Administrative Hearing Scheduled September 2
The Department of Toxic Substances Control and Exide Technologies request postponement of Administrative Hearing scheduled September 2 and 3. Both parties cite progress in their efforts and discussions.
August 27, 2013 – Soil and Dust Sampling in Surrounding Community Begins
July 2, 2013 – Court Orders Temporary Suspension Lifted; Exide Allowed to Continue to Operate
The Los Angeles Superior Court lifts the temporary suspension and allows Exide to immediately begin operations.
June 13, 2013 – Court Issues Order to Lift Temporary Suspension Pending Hearing
Exide appeals temporary suspension by DTSC, appeals to Los Angeles County Superior Court. The court issues order to consider lifting the temporary suspension at a hearing on July 2.
June 10, 2013 – LA Times Story -- Exide Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
April 24, 2013 – Senator De León Issues Letter to DTSC Regarding Exide
Letter expresses appreciation for effort to temporarily shut down Exide, but also to ensure DTSC’s efforts are consistent and thorough.
April 24, 2013 – State Orders Temporary Suspension of Exide Due to Violations from Stormwater Sewer Pipelines and Arsenic Emissions
The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) orders temporary shut down of Exide facility due to: (1) inspection which found the condition of underground pipes out of compliance with hazardous waste regulations; and (2) findings of excessive arsenic releases detailed in March 1 SCAQMD report. Press Release.
The region’s air regulator, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), discovers excessive arsenic levels during routine air monitoring of Exide facility. Levels found include an individual cancer risk of 156 out of 1 million.
Senator De León and colleagues call for Senate investigation of the report by the Senate Oversight and Outcomes.