Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday sought $176.6 million from the state General Fund to expand testing and cleanup of polluted residential communities around the shuttered Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon.
The facility, about five miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, was permanently closed in 2014, and an analysis by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control found lead dust deposited in areas up to 1.7 miles away.
Testing and cleanup of high-exposure sites began last August with $7 million of emergency funding. Brown’s proposed spending plan, outlined in a letter to legislative budget committees Wednesday, would expand that effort to all 10,000 properties within a 1.7-mile radius of the Exide property, including the removal of contaminated soil where lead levels are highest. The state will attempt to recover the cleanup costs from Exide and other parties responsible for the pollution.
“This Exide battery recycling facility has been a problem for a very long time,” Brown said in a statement. “With this funding plan, we’re opening a new chapter that will help protect the community and hold Exide responsible.”