Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday that provides $176.6 million in funding for environmental testing and cleanup work in neighborhoods surrounding the former Exide Technologies battery-recycling plant in Vernon.
State officials said the funding would pay for testing of residential properties, schools, day care centers and parks within a 1.7-mile radius of the plant, and fund cleaning of as many as 2,500 properties with the highest lead levels. There was no immediate word on when the effort would begin or how long it would take.
The cleanup effort is subject to an environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
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"Children should be able to play in yards free from toxics," Brown said. "With this funding plan, we're doubling down on efforts to protect the community and hold Exide responsible."
The Exide plant permanently closed in March 2015. When Exide agreed to close the lead-acid battery recycling plant, it committed to pay $50 million for cleanup of the site and surrounding neighborhoods. Of that amount, $26 million is meant to be set aside for residential cleanup.
As of last August, Exide, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013, had paid $9 million into a trust and another $5 million was due to be paid by March 2020, according to state officials.