Task Force to Fight Battery Plant Pollution

Exide Technologies must come up with a plan to protect children and pregnant women in the area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Residents in an East Los Angeles neighborhood demand public officials take action against Exide after test results released Monday showed elevated lead contamination levels in their neighborhood. Patrick Healy reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. from Vernon Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

    A task force has been set up to study closing a battery recycling plant in Vernon that recently tested for elevated levels of lead.

    Task Force to Battle Industrial Pollution

    [LA] Task Force to Battle Industrial Pollution
    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the creation of a task force aimed at closing a battery recycling plant in Vernon and identifying other industrial health threats. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

    Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who championed the task force, said state regulatory agencies were not doing enough.

    "Hopefully we can encourage the state to give us the authority necessary to go into some of these areas that threaten neighboring communities,'' Molina said.

    Elevated Levels of Lead Found in SoCal Neighborhood

    [LA] Elevated Levels of Lead Found in SoCal Neighborhood
    Elevated levels of lead were found in a neighborhood near a troubled battery recycling plant. Robert Kovacik reports from Huntington Park for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, March 10, 2014.

    Exide, which recycles up to 41,000 batteries a day, has been cited for lead and arsenic pollution and was temporarily closed in April.

    Outrage Over Exide Battery Recycling Plant in Vernon

    [LA] Outrage Over Exide Battery Recycling Plant in Vernon
    Nearby residents expressed their concerns at a meeting Tuesday night over a battery plant reopening after it was found to have spewed toxins. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2013.

    The South Coast Air Quality Management District imposed stricter emissions guidelines targeting the plant in January.

    John Hogarth, manager of Exide's plant, said the facility has cut arsenic emissions and has spent $20 million on upgrades since 2010.

    Exide Executives to Receive Millions in Bonuses Despite Bankruptcy

    [LA] Exide Executives to Receive Millions in Bonuses Despite Bankruptcy
    Bankruptcy filings from Exide Technologies show that the company intends to pay out more than $16 million in bonuses to unnamed executives to "boost employee morale." Meanwhile, the company's battery recycling plant in Vernon is operating at reduced capacity as state regulators have ordered Exide to reduce the amount of lead emission. Angie Crouch reports from Vernon for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2013.

    "It's hard for anybody to say if that lead belongs to Exide," Hogarth said.

    The news comes as officials from the Department of Toxic Substances Control found elevated levels of lead in soil taken from 39 residential lots near the plant and called for expanded testing.

    Battery Plant Continues to Spew Excessive Lead

    [LA] Battery Plant Continues to Spew Excessive Lead
    Workers at Exide Technologies in Vernon have been told to reduce production by 15 percent after officials from the South Coast Air Quality Management District found the level of lead was above strict local standards. The recent violations at the battery recycling plant will go on the company's record and can be used to deny them a permanent operating permit. Angie Crouch reports from Vernon for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2013.

    While authorities said there did not appear to be an immediate severe risk to adults in the area, they took precautions.

    "We do need the governor to be pushing the (Department of Toxic Substances Control) because it is failing in its job to protect the public from toxic harm, " consumer watchdog Liza Tucker said.

    Judge Rules Exide Recycling Plant Can Continue Operations

    [LA] Judge Rules Exide Recycling Plant Can Continue Operations
    A judge ruled Tuesday that Exide Technologies' battery recycling plant in Vernon can continue its operations as long as their emissions don't exceed the state standard. Boyle Heights residents and county officials are vowing to find a way to shut them down. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Vernon for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 2, 2013.

    One school in the area only allows children to play on asphalt.

    Hearing Might Determine Future of Exide Plant

    [LA] Hearing Might Determine Future of Exide Plant
    A hearing might determine whether a battery recycling plant in Vernon can reopen. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Tuesday July 2, 2013.

    "It kind of put me at ease," said parent Ashley Nunez. "But it's still kind of scary."

    The firm at 2700 S. Indiana St. is one of only two lead-acid battery recycling plants west of the Rockies and has been operating since 1922.

    The Department of Public Health will lead the task force. It will report back in 90 days with recommendations on ways to close the Exide plant.

    The group also was asked to identify the communities most at risk from various industrial hazards. The board's vote to establish the task force was unanimous.

    City News Service contributed to this report.

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