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.”

For more information

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.”

- See more at: http://sd24.senate.ca.gov/news/2015-06-04-release-senate-approves-pro-tem%E2%80%99s-bill-prevent-another-exide-disaster


Make Sure Your Voice is Heard On Exide

Thursday, April 9, 2015, 4:30p.m. - 8:00p.m.
Resurrection Catholic Church, Parish Hall,
3324 E. Opal Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Information tables
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Community Meeting

Spanish language interpretation will be provided.

More information here

Exide Hearing

Community Meeting: Closing Exide and Keeping the Community Safe - Thursday, April 19

Reunión Comunitaria: El Cierre de Exide y Manteniendo la Comunidad Segura - jueves, 9 de abril

Interview about Exide Shutdown on KNX in Los Angeles

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."


Letter to DTSC Director Lee (3/6/2015)

Background Information: http://sd24.senate.ca.gov/Exide

Department of Toxic Substances Control – Oversight Hearing watch live via http://senate.ca.gov

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

March 11, 2015 - Statement by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) on DTSC and Exide Vernon Facility Permit Renewal:

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, 2014Media 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

Letter to Judge Carey image

September 21, 2013 – Senator De León Announces Town Hall on October 8 in Boyle Heights

Town Hall announcement image

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.        

Letter to AQMD                       Letter to DTSC              Letter to USEPA
Letter to AQMD image     Letter to DTSC imageLetter to USEPA image

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.     

Letter to Exide CEO
Letter to Exide CEO image

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

DTSC press release image

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.

Letter to DTSC image

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.

March 1, 2013 – Regional Air Regulators Find Excessive Cancer Risk from Arsenic Releases at Exide

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.

February 21, 2013 – Senator De León Issues Letter to DTSC Regarding Allegations in Golden Wasteland Report

Senator De León and colleagues call for Senate investigation of the report by the Senate Oversight and Outcomes.

Oversight and Outcomes request image