Top Toxics Regulator Levies No Fines On Exide For Fresh Violations In Signal It Plans To Grant Serial Polluter A Permit, Says Consumer Watchdog

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Santa Monica, CA — Far from turning over a new leaf, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) listed eight violations inspectors discovered at Exide Technologies’ lead battery recycling facility in Vernon without levying a single fine, Consumer Watchdog said.

“For the DTSC to catch Exide treating contaminated sludge in tanks it is not authorized to operate, and storing hazardous waste in tanks with no proper secondary containment systems and in buildings with holes in the walls and roof, but not fine them just defies belief,” said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “It confirms that DTSC is willing to do whatever it takes to grant a permit to an egregious serial polluter that does not deserve a license to operate in California.” DTSC can levy fines of up to $25,000 a day for each day a violation continues, she said.

Tucker said that DTSC should have initiated denial of a permit years ago based on Exide’s refusal to submit a complete application some 11 times and on its record of pollution. The facility is the only one in the state that has operated for decades without ever having gotten a permit.

See DTSC Release and Summary of Violations here:

Tucker said that the lack of tough penalties was particularly astonishing in light of a Stipulation and Order signed by DTSC with Exide in November 2014 that listed many of the same violations including: storing waste in open containers, failing to minimize the possibility of releases, storing wet plastic chips in trailers that were leaking, failure to transfer waste from leaky containers to sound containers, failure to inspect waste handling areas, and the lack of a leak detection system for the containment building.

For the Stipulation and Order see:

The November agreement also did not require Exide to put up enough financial assurance to cover corrective action and the closure of the facility as required by law, she said.

“DTSC entered into an agreement with Exide that only requires the company to put up some $39 million paid in a series of installments over a decade, rather than the $100 million to $200 million that is required to do the job right. And the agreement allows Exide to walk away and make no future payments if it does not emerge from bankruptcy. That guarantees Exide will get a permit when it should have been shut down years ago,” said Tucker. “Exide is holding the people of East Los Angeles hostage and DTSC is the accomplice.”

For more on Exide, see:

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Liza Tucker
Liza Tucker
Liza Tucker is a consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog, following everything from oil and gas to the regulation of toxic substances in the state of California. She comes to us from Marketplace, the largest U.S. broadcast show on business and economics heard by ten million listeners each week on 400 radio stations. Liza worked at this public radio show for a decade, first as Commentary Editor and then as Senior Editor for both Washington and Sustainability News.

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