$75 Million to Clean Up EXIDE Lead Contamination in East Los Angeles and Surrounding Communities Moves Forward

Monday, November 25, 2019

$75 Million to Clean Up EXIDE Lead Contamination in East Los Angeles and Surrounding Communities Moves Forward

LOS ANGELES, CA – Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), is proud to announce that the Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom, with support from Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, approved an additional $74.5 million in the State Budget for expedited cleanup of lead contamination from the now closed Exide Battery Recycling Plant in Vernon, CA. Additionally, Governor Newsom signed AB 142, authored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), into law. AB 142 provides additional ongoing funding to clean up contaminated communities across California by increasing the manufacturer battery fee. 

“Disenfranchised communities have suffered from environmental harms and injustice impacting the health of our families and children for far too long,” said Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles). “Toxic waste and contamination caused by lack of oversight needs to managed and cleaned up. With AB 142, which I am proud to co-author, there will no longer be the excuse that the funds don’t exist. This is about justice for our most vulnerable residents regardless of economic status or where they live.” 

This issue came to light recently with the disaster at the Exide battery recycling facility in Vernon, California. Over several decades, the facility polluted the soil beneath its facility with high levels of toxic materials and also contaminated groundwater, released battery acid onto roads and contaminated homes and yards in surrounding communities with lead emissions. In March, 2015, Exide was forced to close the facility. Properties up to 1.3 and 1.7 miles away from the facility were impacted by Exide's lead contamination, which amounts to upwards of 10,000 properties.

“Finally, we have a mechanism in place to leave no one behind by  providing urgent and ongoing funding for clean-up of this preventable, man-made environmental disaster that has plagued my community,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens). “This is about environmental justice and ensuring we protect future generations of kids from the horrible effects of lead exposure.”

“For far too long, hard working families near Exide suffered due to years of prolonged exposure to dangerously high levels of lead that harmed many pregnant women and children,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “I thank Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia for AB 142 which will help lead-contaminated sites receive additional funds to expedite cleanup efforts. I am also grateful Gov. Newsom signed AB 142 into law, and that he included $74.5 million in the state’s budget to accelerate the cleanup of homes affected by Exide. Together, we are prioritizing environmental justice and helping our communities heal.”

“With more than 3,000 children in LA County with elevated blood lead levels each year, more must be done to eliminate dangerous exposures to lead in soil, homes and schools,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “AB 142, in concert with Supervisor Solis’ work securing millions of dollars in funding to expedite the cleanup process, will help ensure that communities exposed to toxic lead have the resources to mitigate and prevent additional exposures that have harmful health consequences that more often than not affect women, children, and communities of color. We applaud Assemblywoman Garcia and Supervisor Solis for their extraordinary leadership on this effort and for their constant dedication to the well-being of communities across Los Angeles.”

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was elected as the representative of the 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is a member of the Health, Appropriations, Utilities & Energy, Labor and Rules 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.