Sacramento, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed legislation that directs $176.6 million to expedite and expand testing and cleanup of residential properties, schools, daycare centers and parks around the former Exide Technologies facility in Vernon, California.
“Children should be able to play in yards free from toxics,” said Governor Brown. “With this funding plan, we’re doubling down on efforts to protect the community and hold Exide responsible.”
AB 118, by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and SB 93, by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) implement the Administration’s plan, released in February 2016 and detailed in a Department of Finance letter sent to the California State Senate and Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee chairs.
The $176.6 million appropriation 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.
In an effort to avoid potentially lengthy delays in getting the expanded testing and cleanup started, the Administration’s proposal initially included an exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). However, in response to community and legislative concerns, the Administration is now planning for a CEQA review of the cleanup.
While the appropriation is from the Toxic Substances Control Account and will be supported from the General Fund, cleanup costs will ultimately be sought from Exide and any other parties responsible for the lead contamination.
More information on the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s testing and cleanup efforts in the communities near Exide can be found here.