Some of the toughest environmental laws in the country are not being enforced by state and local officials in California — that’s the conclusion of an independent report saying the Department of Toxic Substances Control lacks even a system for denying or revoking the permits of companies found to be threatening human health. We’ll hear what that means to workers and residents near the city of Vernon, outraged because the Exide lead-battery recycling plant has been allowed to stay open despite evidence of widespread contamination.
Lax Law Enforcement Leads to Outrage
At an angry meeting last night in Boyle Heights, elected legislators expressed outrage over what residents and workers say they’ve known for a long time: they and their children have been exposed to cancer-causing, toxic materials, while state and local regulators have failed to enforce tough laws on the environment.
It’s all about the Exide lead-battery recycling plant in the city of Vernon, which reportedly has emitted lead, arsenic and other cancer-causing substances into the air and water. Exide’s own inspection video shows leaks in pipes sometimes used for wastewater.
But on Monday, Director of the State Department of Toxic Substance Control Debbie Raphael’s department announced a deal with Exide to let it stay open despite its record of violations.
- Dolorez Mejia: resident of Boyle Heights
- Jessica Garrison: Los Angeles Times
- Liza Tucker: Consumer Watchdog
- Bill McGavern: Department of Toxic Substances Control