Supplemental funding included in budget bill will clean area parkways and continue accountability efforts
(Sacramento) – Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) who represent the areas impacted by Exide, announced today that the State Legislature is poised to approve new funding this afternoon for the improved cleanup of the residential areas around the former-Exide battery recycling plant.
The Assemblymembers applauded an additional $6.5 million contained in the 2018-19 Budget Act for the testing and cleanup of parkways in communities impacted by Exide. This appropriation will also require additional coordination between the state Department of Toxics Substances Control (DTSC) and the County of Los Angeles to improve the efforts to remove lead exposures from the interior of the homes and to improve communication with the residents. These budget actions will be followed-up by an oversight hearing in August to ensure on the residential cleanup is proceeding in a manner that is protective of the community’s public health.
“DTSC’s handling of the residential cleanup around the Exide facility has been frustratingly slow and not fully reflective of the community’s concerns. Tomorrow’s budget actions are an important step in more thoroughly removing lead contamination caused by Exide,” Speaker Rendon said. “The accelerated testing and cleaning of parkways, increased coordination between the county and the state, and greater oversight to ensure the clean-up is proceeding effectively are all vital to making sure the communities we represent have safe air, soil and water.”
“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 Vernon, Huntington Park and other areas demanded the inclusion of parkways in this cleanup and their voices were heard,” said Assemblymember Santiago. “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.”
“Our community is right to be concerned about Exide lead contamination in parkways, which are the strips of grass on sidewalks in front of people’s homes. This funding is an important step to getting results for a community adversely impacted by lead contamination,” said Assemblymember Carrillo. “The Assembly is committed to holding DTSC accountable for a speedy and efficient clean up and we are laying down the groundwork needed to ensure this continues to be a priority to the next Administration. Our community deserves to live with dignity while real reforms to DTSC are implemented.” Carrillo added, “I commend my colleagues, especially Speaker Rendon and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis for pushing these items forward.”
“For years, our communities throughout the First District have been exposed to lead and harmful contaminants due to the Exide Battery Recycling Plant,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. 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. We have listened to the communities affected by the Exide, and their demand is loud and clear: the parkways must be cleaned. Our residents and children deserve nothing less than a comprehensive cleanup!”
Decades of unchecked emissions from the Exide facility has resulted in lead contamination of the surrounding communities not just in yards in homes and parks and schools, but also communal parkways. 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.
In 2016, the Legislature appropriated $176.6 million to facilitate the expedited the cleanup of the neighborhood surrounding the recently shuttered Exide Battery Technologies plant (AB 118, Santiago). Since then, the project has been plagued by delays. These actions contained in Thursday’s budget vote aim to provide an additional $6.5 million for these necessary cleanup efforts and to ensure further oversight of activities.
Assemblymember Anthony Rendon is Speaker of the California State Assembly. He represents the 63rd Assembly District composed of Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate and a northern portion of Long Beach.
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee, and a member of the Assembly’s Education and Health Committees and the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.
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.