Assemblymember Carrillo, Colleagues and Local Elected Officials Secure Additional Funding for Exide While Holding Regulators Accountable

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) who represents the area impacted by Exide, announced that the following actions, which she spearheaded along with colleagues and local officials, were taken by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 3 on Resources and Transportation this morning regarding the Exide cleanup:

  • Re-appropriating the remaining balance of the original $176.6 million for the Exide cleanup and an additional $16 million from the Lead Acid Battery Fund for the cleanup and testing of parkways in communities impacted by the Exide Battery Recycling Plant. Parkways are defined as strips of grass found between sidewalks and the street.
  • Scheduling an oversight hearing in August to ensure the Exide cleanup is proceeding effectively and efficiently.
  • Adopting budget language aimed to improve coordination between Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for the interior cleanup of homes.

“Our community is right to be concerned about Exide lead contamination from parkways in our neighborhoods. We are all understandably frustrated with cleanup delays, but we must also ensure that the cleanup is comprehensive,” said Assemblymember Carrillo. “That is why in the Assembly, we have approved $16 million dedicated for parkway cleanup and adopted language to ensure maximum coordination between the county and DTSC to clean up our homes. We will be holding an oversight hearing in August on all aspects of the Exide cleaning to ensure that the department is held to transparent and accountable standards.”

Carrillo added, “I commend my colleagues on Assembly Budget Subcommittee 3, Speaker Rendon, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Solis for pushing these items forward.” 

Lead contamination from the Exide plant has affected our neighborhoods in many ways, including yards in homes, parks and schools, but also communal parkways nearby in our residential communities, potentially exposing these areas to lead. Residents walk, play and otherwise pass through these parkways regularly just like their yards. It is nonsensical to address some clean up yet leave another potential source of lead unaddressed just feet away.

Speaker Anthony Rendon remarked, “The communities that have been plagued for decades by Exide’s pollution deserve relief. The budget actions taken by the Assembly today will speed testing and cleaning of parkways, increase coordination between the county and the state, and provide oversight to ensure the clean-up is proceeding effectively. Our hope is that these steps can help in easing residents’ concerns and in making sure the air, water and soil in their communities are safe. I thank the members of the Assembly Budget Committee for including these items in the budget, and I applaud Supervisor Solis and community leaders for their effectiveness in advocating for these badly needed next steps.”

“This funding is an important next step in the Exide cleanup. Our communities have been neglected on this issue for far too long. The residents of Boyle Heights, Vernon, Huntington Park and other areas demanded the inclusion of parkways in this cleanup and their voices were heard,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “I am staying on top of this disaster and will keep fighting for my community.  I applaud all of the project’s stakeholders for moving this money forward – especially my colleagues Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis.”

“Residents, including many children, track dirt into their homes by walking through the parkways. Ensuring that these parkways are clean of Exide lead is an essential piece of our comprehensive cleanup plan,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “The County and our representatives in Sacramento have listened to the communities affected by the Exide battery recycling plant and their demand is loud and clear: the parkways must be cleaned. Thank you to our community members for fighting for this much needed funding for clean parkways – your voices have been heard. Our residents and children deserve nothing less than a comprehensive cleanup!”

“This is wonderful news!  The parkways will be safe for children to play on. We are finally going to be able to start to restore this community.” said Jane Williams, director of California Communities Against Toxics.

In 2016, the Legislature appropriated $176.6 million to aid in the cleanup of the neighborhood surrounding the Exide plant. Since then, the project has been plagued by delays. As a result of this, the funding for the cleanup must be reauthorized by the Legislature because so much time has passed. The action today aims to provide an additional $16 million for these necessary cleanup efforts. Carrillo and Santiago will work diligently with their colleagues to ensure final budget actions include this $16 million, an oversight hearing and proper coordination between LA County and DTSC.

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Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was elected to the 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is a member of the Rules, Appropriations, Public Safety, Health and Water Parks & Wildlife Committees. Carrillo represents the people of East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, and the neighborhoods of El Sereno, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and parts of Silver Lake.

CONTACT: Alicia.Isaacs@asm.ca.gov, (916) 319-2051