|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
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
SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major
portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.