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Air Quality Officials File Lawsuit Seeking Up To $40 Million in Penalties from Exide Technologies

January 16, 2014

The South Coast Air Quality Management District filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court today seeking up to $40 million in penalties from Exide Technologies for numerous air quality violations due primarily to illegal emissions of lead and arsenic.
“Exide has had a steady stream of operational problems that have resulted in excess toxic emissions,” said Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer.  “These toxic emissions have exposed many thousands of residents to an unacceptable cancer risk and for that reason we are seeking to recover a significant penalty from them.”
SCAQMD is working on multiple fronts to compel Exide to reduce its toxic emissions of lead, arsenic and other contaminants. Last week, SCAQMD’s Governing Board adopted the nation’s toughest regulation limiting arsenic emissions from lead-acid battery plants.
SCAQMD is also seeking an order from the independent SCAQMD Hearing Board that would require Exide to stop its smelting operations until it can improve its air pollution control systems to reduce arsenic emissions.
SCAQMD also has required Exide to strengthen and resubmit a risk reduction plan to reduce its arsenic emissions.  In early 2013, SCAQMD approved a Health Risk Assessment from Exide showing that the facility was causing an unacceptably high cancer risk for thousands of residents in southeast Los Angeles County primarily due to its arsenic emissions.  SCAQMD then required the facility to develop a risk reduction plan under the agency’s Rule 1402 and the state’s Toxic Hot Spots law. The agency rejected Exide’s first plan as inadequate and is now evaluating the company’s resubmitted plan.
Exide Technologies, located at 2700 S. Indiana Street in Vernon, is one of only two lead-acid battery recycling plants west of the Rockies. In operation since 1922, the plant currently recycles 23,000 to 41,000 batteries daily.
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.


This page updated: January 17, 2014